Police appeal after poisonous plants stolen

POLICE in the High Peak and Derbyshire Dales are appealing for information after hundreds of plants were stolen from a National Trust nature reserve in Dovedale.

The plants, Arum Maculatum, commonly known as Lords and Ladies or Cuckoo Pint were taken from an area that is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

PC Emerson Buckingham who is the wildlife crime officer for the Derbyshire Constabulary’s B Division said: “There have been three separate occasions where large quantities of plants have been taken from this site.

“It is illegal to steal plants from SSSIs but we are also concerned because these plants are poisonous. It’s been suggested that they could be used to fight cancer but if they are not prepared properly people who eat the plants could suffer a sore throat, stomach pain and irregular heart beat. In extreme cases coma and death can occur.”

Tom Moat, Natural England Area Manager added: “Dovedale is a real jewel in Derbyshire’s crown and I would urge visitors to help us to keep it that way. The protection and management of SSSIs is the responsibility of us all and we must work together to preserve this natural heritage for future generations – especially as the threat from development, pollution and climate change grows. People should be aware that taking plants from an area designated as a SSSI is a criminal offence – enforceable under both the Theft Act and the Wildlife and Countryside Act.”

Anyone with any information about the missing plants should contact the police on 101, Natural England on 0300 060 0986 or Crimestoppers, anonymously on 0800 555 111.