Volunteers who planted thousands of daffodils to brighten up Boston have been left upset as ‘callous’ individuals have been picking them out of the ground for their own use.
The flowers were planted in various public areas of the town by voluntary groups who say they are now being taken at an alarming rate.
Rachel and Rob Lauberts, from voluntary group Boston Greenscapers, said they have seen people picking them.
“On Friday I was driving down past Pilgrim’s Patch near the Red Cross Centre when I saw a man walking his dog and picking the daffodils,” said Mr Lauberts. “I wound down my window, asked him to stop and told him those flowers were for the community to enjoy.
“He carried on picking them so I sounded my horn and pointed at him. Everyone else stared at him – I think he was quite embarrassed.”
The couple said they also challenged people picking ‘armfuls’ of the flowers at Burgess Pit, off Freiston Road.
They say the people they confronted appeared to be native Bostonians, adding: “We asked why they were picking them and they just started to walk away, embarrassed.”
Areas along Sleaford Road, Windsor Bank and near the Geoff Moulder Leisure Centre are also being targeted.
Some 10,000 bulbs were planted over the last two years by volunteers from Greenscapers, the borough council, Placecheck groups, scouts, Asda and Thistles Day Centre.
Rachel Lauberts said: “These people have been out in horrible, cold and wet weather to plant these bulbs.
“It’s soul-destroying to see all that hard work go to waste.”
Asda’s community champion Stephen Bromby said: “It took a lot of hard work and effort for volunteers and it’s such a shame people are picking them as they can no longer be enjoyed by everybody.”
Mr Lauberts added: “People can get 20 daffodils for £1 at Asda, so we say ‘don’t pick them - go and buy your own!’”
A police spokesman warned the force would take the matter seriously and said that anyone taking daffodils could be arrested for anti-social behaviour or theft.
A spokesman for Lincolnshire Police said: “Picking flowers may be viewed as an anti-social behaviour offence and if a person digs up a bulb and sells it for profit, they may have committed a theft so we would warn anyone considering such action that we do take such incidents seriously and would deal with any offenders under the appropriate legislation.”