EVERY spring, Helen Douglas enjoys the spectacular views of hundreds of daffodils on the roadsides around her home.

But now she has declared a one-woman war on the flower rustlers who are stripping Fair Oak of its floral glory by grabbing illegal bouquets.

The Eastleigh village is in danger of losing its host of golden daffodils if action is not taken to nip the problem in the bud.

Now parish council chairman Helen, who is also a Southampton magistrate, is threatening to name and shame the thieves.

For she has been logging the registration numbers of cars driven by daffodil snatchers - and intends to publish the numbers in the parish council magazine.

Helen could not believe her eyes when she found one elderly couple having a picnic in her driveway after a daffodil-picking spree. In the back of their vehicle were about 200 blooms.

Helen said: "The verge had been decimated. The couple said they were having a picnic before going home with the daffodils."

She has spotted another daffodil snatcher with an armful of about 30 blooms.

From her kitchen window, the 39-year-old has a clear view of the daffodil daylight raids on the verge along Mortimers Lane.

She has been astounded at the nerve and lack of contrition shown by those who have been confronted after taking the daffs.

The build up to Valentine's Day is a particularly bad time as the area becomes easy pickings for those looking to snap up free tokens of love for their sweethearts.

Other villagers have also spoken to the daff snatchers. Now the the parish chairman hopes that publishing the culprits' car registration numbers might make inroads into the problem.

Many of the daffodil bulbs were originally planted by the parish council and Helen said: "The daffodils, which always come out early, are really beautiful. A lot of time and volunteer help was used in planting them."

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