Letter: Plant police

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The Independent Culture
Sir: It is wrong to suggest that the courts do not impose serious penalties for the theft of wild plants ("Weak laws fail to protect woodlands from bulb thieves", 1 November).

The Crown Prosecution Service has prosecuted a number of cases which have resulted in heavy fines, combination orders (community service and probation) or prison. A defendant in Norfolk, for example, received a three-month jail sentence at crown court.

We are currently bringing a case of alleged theft of snowdrop bulbs with charges under the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species, attracting penalties of imprisonment.

The CPS does take these cases seriously and is anxious to prosecute where there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction.

N P D CRAMPTON

Senior Crown Prosecutor

CPS Norfolk

Norwich

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