The municipal administration of Russia’s southern city of Sochi, the popular Russian seaside resort, is actively fighting against massive theft of rare and disappearing plants from the city parks and the nearby forests. The local newspaper Vremya Novostey reports that, with a view to prevent the large-scale theft, the local administration decided to fix special signs on lawns and on tree trunks; the signs say that people who attempt to steal plants will suffer from severe retribution.
For instance, a roll of toilet paper is attached to one of the city streets; the inscription on the paper says that all plants were cast spells upon by a sorceress whom is perfectly known to the local citizens. It is said that the woman will bedevil everyone who tries to pick or cut the plants. The local newspaper reports that the staff of the local department responsible for the green plantations of Sochi makes up about 200 people, which is certainly not enough to control the 145 kilometers of the Black Sea coast belonging to the Sochi resort area.
Meanwhile, the stealing of rare plants has already developed into an illegal business in Sochi. Homeless people and some of the locals sell stolen plants to wholesale clients, who in they turn, distribute the plants in the largest cities of Russia. Shops selling pot plants and companies offering planting services in offices or in country houses are among the clients of the Sochi park plunderers.
The local department responsible for plants informs that dozens of instances are registered every day in which people attempt to steal rare plants in the local parks. Only a few of them are caught and brought into criminal account. About one thousand such cases were registered within the past year. Delfi.ru