Police investigate after 8,000 bluebell bulbs dug up from private woodland
Police are investigating after around 8,000 bluebell bulbs were found dug up from a privately-owned wood and loaded into large sacks and mail bags.
Officers from Norfolk Constabulary discovered the recently-uprooted bulbs after a member of the public reported people acting suspiciously at the wood in the Fakenham area on March 23, a force spokesperson said.
Two men aged in their thirties and two women aged in their twenties, all from Lincolnshire, were interviewed, but no arrests have been made.
The landowner is now in the process of replanting the bulbs, and officers are appealing for witnesses.
British bluebells are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act along with all other native wild plants and bulbs, the force said.
This means it is an offence to intentionally uproot any wild plant unless authorised to do so, and police are encouraging people to report any suspicious behaviour.
In 2019, almost 13,000 snowdrops worth about £1,500 were stolen from the Walsingham Estate in Norfolk.
Walsingham has been a place of pilgrimage since the Middle Ages and styles itself as ‘England’s Nazareth’.
Two men admitted theft and criminal damage over the incident, with one sentenced at Norwich Crown Court in 2019 to ten months in prison and the other ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work.