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CRIME

Hydrangeas go missing as ‘cannabis scenesters’ experiment with flowers

An increasing number of eastern German gardeners are complaining of missing hydrangea plants, which can apparently be smoked, a media report said Friday.

Hydrangeas go missing as 'cannabis scenesters' experiment with flowers
Hydrangeas bloom in Gera, in the eastern German state of Thuringia. Photo: DPA

Since the year began, the number of thefts have dramatically increased, pharmaceutical industry paper Pharmazeutische Zeitung reported.

“We’ve recognized the phenomenon of hydrangea theft for at least ten years,” spokesperson for the Lower Saxony state criminal police (LKA) Frank Federau told the paper. “The numbers usually rise in spring.”

Longer days bring out the blue, purple and pink blooms on the shrubs, which reach their main flowering season between February and May.

But apparently members of what the paper called the “cannabis scene” enjoy smoking the plant’s young shoots.

Though smoking the plant is not illegal, stealing them is, Federau said.

He also said he doubted that smoking the plant created a high as intense as marijuana. Furthermore, anyone considering such an experiment should know that the plant contains a cyanide compound that can be poisonous, he said.

The Local/ka

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CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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