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Warning to foragers as poisonous mushrooms spotted in Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 14:46 19 October 2019 | UPDATED: 08:43 20 October 2019

A Fairytale Mushroom spotted in Thetford Forest. Picture: Karl Brooker

A Fairytale Mushroom spotted in Thetford Forest. Picture: Karl Brooker

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Foragers have been warned to be "sensitive and responsible" around mushrooms as the seasons change.

A Fairytale Mushroom spotted in Thetford Forest. Picture: Karl BrookerA Fairytale Mushroom spotted in Thetford Forest. Picture: Karl Brooker

Forestry England have encouraged people to learn more about the thousands of species that grow around the UK and to be careful if foraging after reports of mass fungi growth throughout Thetford Forest.

A Forestry England spokesperson said: "The nation's forests, including Thetford Forest, are fantastic places to see fungi and more than 5,000 different species have been recorded. We encourage people to learn about, and to identify, fungi with some forests running fungi identification events.

"If people are confident about their identification skills and decide to forage we want them to do it sensitively and responsibly."

It has also warned that when deciding to pick fungi that it is not done on conservationist land.

A Fairytale Mushroom spotted in Thetford Forest. Picture: Karl BrookerA Fairytale Mushroom spotted in Thetford Forest. Picture: Karl Brooker

"We support the approach of The British Mycological Society," the spokesman added, "and ask people not to forage on land designated for its wildlife conservation interest.

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"If anyone believes someone is illegally foraging to sell the fungi, they should pass evidence to the police by calling 101."

One of the most common poisonous mushrooms is Amanita Muscaria, better known as the 'fairy tale mushroom' due to its use in illustrations of children's stories.

If a poisonous mushroom is consumed the National Poisons Information Service (NPIS) will often be contacted by medical staff.

Dr John Thompson, director of the NPIS, said: "As the weather starts to change many people will soon be heading out to the countryside to seek out wild food which can be a really fun thing to do.

"But when it comes to wild mushrooms people really need to be aware of the very real potential dangers involved, it is always at this time of year that we see a noticeable increase in poisoning cases.

"This is because while many mushrooms growing in the wild are tasty and safe to eat, it is not always easy to differentiate between toxic and non-toxic species even for people with experience in foraging.

"That's why we say that people should not eat mushrooms collected in the wild unless they are very familiar with the various types that grow in the UK."

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