It’s not just nature lovers who like bluebells, it seems. Thieves have illegally uprooted 8,000 of them from a woodland beauty spot.
Police discovered large sacks and mail bags filled with the wild flowers after receiving a call about strangers acting suspiciously on the property.
Bluebells are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act – and it is an offence to intentionally uproot them without permission.
It’s not just nature lovers who like bluebells, it seems. Thieves have illegally uprooted 8,000 of them from a woodland beauty spot
The owner of the wood near Fakenham, Norfolk, is now replanting the bulbs.
Two men in their 30s and two women in their 20s from Lincolnshire have been interviewed in connection to the attempted theft on March 23, although no arrests have been made.
Dr Trevor Dines, botanical specialist for Plantlife, said the bluebells would have been stolen for sale on the black market – but low levels of fines are not acting as a deterrent to plant theft.
He added: ‘Targeted plant thefts are usually undetected as there’s no “smoking trowel”. The first sign of a crime is usually a gaping hole in the ground where once there was a breathtaking petalled spike.’
A demand for wild flowers has led to a rise in thefts as people look to ‘rewild’ their gardens and lawns.
Almost half the world’s bluebells are in the UK. They usually bloom in early May.