I was recently alerted by a reader to a scam involving seeds initially thought to be from China, so I contacted the Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate (APHA) to find out what was happening. They said:
We are investigating what appears to be a “brushing scam”. There have been reports of unsolicited low value items (including seeds) being received by people in the UK and many other countries. There is no evidence to suggest that it is a deliberate attempt to introduce unwanted plant species from China.
The advice we have given is:
If you are posted seeds without ordering them, or if you are simply not sure what sorts of seeds they are, do not plant or compost them – they could have a detrimental impact on your own garden and the wider environment.
Report any cases of illicit seeds to the Government’s Animal and Plant Health Agency by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org You will be asked to send your seeds to an APHA address where they are currently being collected and tested.
Always source plants and seeds from reputable retailer – if buying online, always check the seller’s credentials and the reviews. Find out more here.
There is also a short video on Twitter.
Thanks to our alert reader.