Police in Spain have joined with European colleagues in their awareness of a phenomenon that has been spreading through France and Germany, where countless thefts of hydrangea plants have been stolen from cemeteries and public parks.

According to reports, the thefts are as a result of a growing trend weaving through the internet that suggests the plants can be used as a hallucinogenic replacement for marijuana.

However, experts are warning of considerable danger in doing so, with Kurt Hostettmann, honorary professor of pharmacology at the Universities of Lausanne and Geneva, saying that a high dose can prove fatal at worst but are also likely to result in side effects such as gastrointestinal problems, rapid heartbeat, dizziness and sickness.

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