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Warning: Watch out for snowdrop thieves

PUBLISHED: 11:16 01 February 2020 | UPDATED: 12:05 01 February 2020

Police are warning countryside lovers to look out for snowdrop thieves  Picture: Ian Burt

Police are warning countryside lovers to look out for snowdrop thieves Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2018

Countryside lovers are being warned to watch out for snowdrop thieves.

Walsingham Abbey is famed for its display of snowdrops  Picture: Ian BurtWalsingham Abbey is famed for its display of snowdrops Picture: Ian Burt

As the first white blooms begin to emerge, police in Norfolk say "large quantities" are stolen from the wild each year.

Last year one man was jailed and another given a community order, after a court heard they dug an estimated 13,000 bulbs from Walsingham.

Sentencing the pair, the judge at Norwich Crown Court said the plants had been "stolen to order".

Snowdrop collecting has boomed in recent years, with some bulbs fetching hundreds of pounds.

Patches in parks, grass verges and private gardens have all been targeted by thieves.

Some growers now resort to CCTV and nocturnal patrols to protect their crop.

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