SOME might say it is health and safety gone mad, but Sudbury residents have been confronted with signs urging them not to eat the flowers in the town’s troughs and tubs.

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The green and white professionally produced plastic signs, which read “PLEASE do not eat the flowers” sprung up in beds close to St Peter’s Church on Market Hill this week. They have even appeared in two recently planted commemorative iron ladles, due to be officially unveiled before Christmas.

But the town council, their contracted gardener and the town warden claim to know nothing about the signs.

Deputy town clerk Jacqui Howells said: “I know we have experienced problems with people stealing the plants before because you can see where they’ve been dug up, but as far as I know, we’ve never come across anyone eating them before.

“I assumed the signs might have been put there by our gardener Gary Flowers, but he is as mystified as we are. Whether it’s someone who is seriously concerned that the flowers are poisonous or somebody just having a laugh, we don’t know. But if it draws attention to the flower beds and causes a bit of a giggle, then we are happy to leave the signs in place.”

Chairman of Sudbury in Bloom, Nick Irwin, suspected the town warden had erected the signs. But he said: “If they were planting the troughs up with poisonous plants then I could see some merit in warning people not to eat them. However, I doubt if they would choose to put highly dangerous plants in the town centre anyway.

“As for labelling poisonous species, well where does it end? Do we need to warn people not to touch the yew trees in the cemetery or not to go near the foxgloves?”

However he said there was a more serious note to the signs adding: “Although some flower species such as certain types of violet and rose are edible, it is probably good advice not to eat any flowers unless they are served up in a posh restaurant.”

Town warden Bradley Smith, who has just returned from holiday said: “It definitely wasn’t me who put the signs there. In fact when I saw them, I was convinced they had been put in by the council because they look so official.”

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