Leading article: Flower power

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Silverdale Golf Course in Carnforth, Lancashire, is home to a VIP; a Very Important Plant, that is. A Lady's Slipper orchid, a flower so rare that it is protected by law from obsessive collectors, has bloomed there. And the Lancashire Constabulary are taking their responsibilities to safeguard the flower very seriously.

Police tape surrounds the site. Foot patrols make hourly visits. And, this being Britain, CCTV is being discussed. One cannot help wondering whether the police would have been quite so solicitous had the orchid set up home at the top of a steep hill, rather than a golf course.

But let us banish such cynical thoughts and salute the efforts of the Lancashire force. After all, there's something pleasing about the thought of the constabulary protecting nature's jewels from the blind rapaciousness of man. Indeed we ask: why stop at rare flowers? There are surely black rhinos which could benefit from the presence of motorcycle outriders. How about red squirrels to be watched over by crack sniper teams? Is it feasible to guard shoals of blue-fin tuna with a naval task force? Nothing should be unthinkable. Lancashire's finest have shown us the way.

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