Conservationists say the gastropods are easy prey for the thieves because, yes, you’ve guessed it, they move at a snail’s pace.
But it’s no laughing matter for volunteers at a Surrey wood who say the mollusc population has reduced by two-thirds.
They have now called in the police as the snails are a protected species sold illegally as a delicacy to French restaurants, which fry them in garlic butter as l’escargot.
Andy Keay, a volunteer for WoodChip Conservation, which patrols the 160-acre Banstead Woods and chalklands to put off the poachers, said a 33lb haul of 400 Roman snails could earn a poacher about £400.
He said: “A lot of people say they are only snails.
"But they must be three to five years old to breed, so if you take them all out, you’re going to devastate the numbers very quickly.
"It makes me very angry.”
Read the full article rom Tom Pettifor at MIRRORNEWS
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