Long Sutton

A Lincolnshire couple have been fined £200 each for their part in digging up 8,000 bluebells from woodland in a neighbouring county.

Native English bluebells are legally protected and intentionally uprooting them is against the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

King’s Lynn Magistrates’ Court heard on Thursday that the UK has more than half the world’s population of bluebells and the English variety is commercially desirable and often targeted by thieves.

The bulbs in this case at Thursford, Norfolk, were recovered and replanted, which took five men eight hours each at a cost of £625.

Prosecutor Ashley Petchey said the bluebells had been there for possibly hundreds of years and the flowers and surrounding land would take a long time to recover to “pre-disturbed levels”.

James Cross, 30, and Katie Bingham, 20, each pleaded guilty to uprooting a wild plant on March 23, 2021.

The court was told they were among a group of four people arrested for the offence following a tip-off about suspicious behaviour. Police found about 8,000 bulbs in mail bags.

Mr Petchey said: “Mr Cross gave his home address in Lincolnshire and said he was there for the purpose of walking his dogs. He said his mother had dropped them off and she was returning to pick them up later.”

Cross was questioned about a black Vauxhall Astra at the scene but denied he had arrived in it.

“He was noted to have very muddy-looking hands but said this was because he’d been in the forest with the dogs,” added Mr Petchey.

“Miss Bingham also provided a similar account.”

Claire Edgeler, mitigating for both defendants, said the evidence against her clients had been “very strong” and they were right to plead guilty.

“Whilst they are clearly aware that stealing bulbs that do not belong to them is an offence, they were not aware that it was a specific offence to uproot wild bulbs.

“It was selfish and irresponsible. They said to me that they were not intending to sell them but share them between themselves and their friends.

“They had no particular desire to make money. What the other [two] people were intending to do we don’t know.”

As well as the fine, Cross and Bingham, of Anfield Road, Long Sutton, Lincolnshire, were each ordered to pay £105 costs, £34 victim surcharge and £156.25 compensation.

Co-defendants Robert Barnes, 30, of Park Lane, Long Sutton, and Saskia Jackson, 28, of Lowgate, Lutton, Lincolnshire, did not appear as scheduled. They have not yet entered a plea. Their cases were adjourned to Thursday, October 21.

A man and a woman have been arrested after police discovered a huge haul of catalytic converters at a home in Long Sutton.

The pair, both 27 and from the Long Sutton area, were arrested on September 7 after a joint operation between Lincolnshire Police and the Environment Agency.

A search warrant at an address in Long Sutton saw officers find a large amount of cash, as well as a machine to produce Bitcoin, the digital currency.

The main discovery was a container which held several tonnes of catalytic convertors. They have been seized for examination and investigation.

Several tonnes of catalytic convertors were found in a container at the property. | Photo: Lincolnshire Police

After making these discoveries, police arrested a 27-year-old woman on suspicion of acquiring or possessing criminal property, while the 27-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of the following offences:

  • Acquiring and/or using criminal property
  • Knowingly causing or permitting a person to operate a regulated facility without authorisation of an environment permit
  • Depositing controlled waste either in or on land without an environmental permit
  • Keeping controlled waste in a manner likely to cause pollution or harm
  • Handling, controlling or transferring controlled waste without taking reasonable measure

Both have been released under investigation, and police say they are in the early stages of their enquiries.

Sergeant Gareth Phillips said: “This was a successful joint operation between ourselves and a number of our partner agencies, which has resulted in the seizure of a number of suspected stolen items as well as a large quantity of cash.

“We are still in the early stages of our investigation. We are working with the Environment Agency to see if any offences have taken place, and would urge anyone with any information to contact us on 101.”

Yvonne Daly, an operations manager for the Environment Agency in Lincolnshire, said: “The storage of hazardous waste materials can harm the environment, blight communities and undermine the legitimate businesses that do follow the rules.

“Our role is to protect the environment for people and wildlife, so we won’t hesitate to take action against those who put it at risk. To businesses flouting the rules our message is clear: you won’t get away with it.”

Anyone who suspects illegal waste activity should report it to the Environment Agency’s 24-hour hotline on 0800 807060.

A motorcyclist in his 20s has been hospitalised with serious injuries following a collision on the A17 at Gedney.

The crash happened at around 4.20pm on Monday, August 16, adjacent to a local garage, and involved an orange Honda motorcycle and a gold Citroen C4 car.

Lincolnshire Police said both vehicles had been travelling from Long Sutton towards Holbeach.

Investigators described the biker’s injuries as serious, and issued an appeal for witnesses.

Anyone who saw the vehicles prior to the crash, or saw the crash itself, should contact the force on 101.

Officers are also asking to hear from anyone who has dash cam footage of the vehicles prior to travelling on the A17, or of the RTC.

People can also get in touch by:

  • Emailing [email protected] – please remember to put the reference incident 278 of 16 August in the subject box.
  • Via the non-emergency number 101, quoting incident 278 of 16 August.
  • Through the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at crimestoppers-uk.org.

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