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Epping Forest mushroom

London's parks are cracking down on mushroom picking

By Hayley Spencer

Next time you're making a stroganoff and find yourself short on mushrooms, don't even think about popping to your local park and pinching a few, because thieving fungi is an actual proper offence, it turns out. 

Royal Parks are cracking down on bylaws which prevent people from picking wild mushrooms from local parks without permission – they say they won't hesitate to prosecute after a spate of 'shroom robbing. Eighty people have received warnings from the police in the past five years and two have faced prosecution.

'Calm down, it's only a bit of fun(gi),' we hear you cry, but it seems like there are a few foragers who've been taking the piss. In the most recent case, a 38-year-old from Romford was caught red-handed by a warden stealing three whole bags of mushrooms. 

She was sentenced at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court last week and was fined £80 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £20, along with prosecution costs of £264. A trip to Sainsbury's fruit and veg aisle would definitely have been more cost-effective.

On a more serious note, all this mushroom picking is doing some pretty big ecological damage and isn't sustainable. Paul Thomson, superintendent for the forest at City of London Corporation, said: 'Fungi are there to be enjoyed by everybody for their beauty and variety, not picked indiscriminately, en masse, for personal consumption or for commercial exploitation.'

Point taken: even if it seems like Royal Parks aren't being the most fun guys about it, there's not mush-room for this behaviour if we want to keep our lovely green spaces thriving.

Love a good green space? Here are the best hidden gardens and green spaces in London.


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