Budleigh councillor’s concern over missing snowdrops

A COUNCILLOR is urging gardeners wanting to purchase snowdrop bulbs to ask where they came from amid claims a number have gone missing from a wood near Budleigh Salterton.

Courtney Richards, the former mayor of Budleigh Salterton, has expressed his concern after he ventured into the wood last week - which was previously filled with snowdrops - and found they had been dug up.

Mr Richards, who refused to name the exact location of the wood in fear more people would take things from there, suspects they have been dug up illegally to sell on for profit.

He said: “The number that had been taken were far too many for it to be someone who was taking a few for their garden.

“When you purchase snowdrops, you normally buy them when they are what is called ‘in the green.’

“They will also be advertised as ‘in the green.’ This means they should have their leaves attached and have finished flowering.

“This wood is quite wild and very few people venture into it. In the centre, there is a large glade that used to be filled with snowdrops but not any longer.

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“Someone has been in and dug up the lot. Whilst I don’t agree with it, I could understand people taking a few for their gardens, but due to the quantity that has been taken it looks as though they have been taken to sell on for profit.”

“People should understand that under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981, which covers Britain, it is illegal to uproot any wild plant without permission from the landowner or occupier.

“Even plants growing wild are the legal property of somebody, and under the Theft Act, 1968, it is an offence to uproot plants for commercial purposes without authorisation.

“Snowdrops are particularly protected and the common snowdrop (Galanthus Nivalis) is the only British native plant, other than wild orchids, that is covered by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species).