The 27-year-old man from Hürth near Cologne, set up a company to import the mushrooms from Holland, store them in his home and then deliver them to his customers by car, the Express newspaper reported at the weekend.
The man, named only as Marcel F., wrote up a business plan and submitted it to his case officer at the job centre, complete with details of his internet site with the name pilzkoepp.de – which means mushiehead.
The job centre accepted his plan and gave him a €7,200 grant to start his company. Because the mushrooms are not plants, they were not covered by the narcotics laws.
It was not long before the police knocked on Marcel’s door and confiscated all his stock, before taking him for questioning and prosecution.
The law had been changed to include mushrooms, the Express said, and Marcel’s business was no longer legal.
He was given a suspended 18-month sentence – but the court ruled that he did not have to repay the job centre.