Yes, ‘dig’ the flowers, but please don’t dig them up!

Editor – I have lived in the parish of Osgodby for 30-plus years, and during this time have taken an active interest in the wildlife living there, having an especial interest in wild flowers.

I have noticed a slowly increasing patch of wood anemones flowering each year along the woodside, the only patch I know of growing locally, and yesterday I became aware of someone digging near this spot and approached the lady, who was indeed digging up the anemones. I challenged her and she replied that she had recently noved house and wanted some anemones to remind her of her mother.

When I pointed out that it was illegal to uproot wild flowers, she did not seem interested and said she hoped to open her garden in the future so people would be able to see them there!

I informed her that I had been recording these flowers for many years and never removed a single plant, to which she replied she had seen them more years than I and did I want half of the box she had collected. I refused, repeated that it was illegal and left her rearranging the soil!

Subsequently, I discovered the lady in question sells plants at car boot sales.

Does any reader have any suggestions as to how I should have dealt with this situation?

I would also remind people that, under the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981, it is illegal to uproot any wild plant without permission from the landowner or occupier.

‘Uproot’ is defined as to dig up or otherwise remove the plant from the land on which it is growing.

Even plants growing in the 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.

The Wildlife Trust (www.wildlifetrusts.org) specifically states that it is illegal to dig up wood anemones.

I feel that if this information is more widely dispersed it may deter the more reasonable members of the public from breaking the law and leave the flowers for all to enjoy.

Loretta Rivett