A HAWK-eyed Chichester resident has spotted a plant in the city which could be poisonous to children.
John Pollard, of Broyle Road, believes a plant growing near a busy underpass is a relative of the toxic deadly nightshade.
“There are lots and lots of children passing by the area and the plant is highly dangerous,” said Mr Pollard.
He said the plant in question was a relative of deadly nightshade known as woody nightshade or solanum dulcamara.
The plant produces attractive red berries which are toxic, but also very bitter – so have only ever poisoned a handful of people.
“I regularly walk into town and go through the underpass which goes under Broyle Road near the Festival Theatre car park,” said Mr Pollard.
“Just to the north of the exit there is a shrubbery which is near the wall.
“The bush is in the area between the wall and the carpark which is clearly the (county) council’s responsibility.
“They are trying to dump it on the district council – but I have been a parish clerk for years so I know who is responsible. The bush is accessible to the public so it is clearly dangerous.”
A spokesman for West Sussex County Council said: “An officer has already made contact with Mr Pollard who confirmed that the area he was referring to was the pedestrian entrance to the Festival Theatre car park, which is part of Oaklands Way.
“There are some planted areas that fall under our responsibility, but in this case the type of plant mentioned is not regarded as a noxious weed and does not receive treatment.
“This is in line with our responsibilities under both the Weed Act 1959 and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.”
Woody nightshade is a weed which grows in hedgerows, gardens and wasteland throughout Europe.
It spreads via underground stems and was used in folk medicine across the continent for hundreds of years until a French botanist found it had no healing power.