Snail Snatchers in Operation

Ramblers are being urged to keep their eyes peeled for snail snatchers

Ramblers throughout Bedfordshire are being asked to keep their eyes to the ground to see if snail snatchers are in operation in the county.

A spate of thefts of the slippery creatures in nearby Surrey has prompted a police investigation as it is believed that restaurants in the area have been poaching the precious booty.

Thought to be worth an amazing £1 each, the snails are being scavenged and turned into gourmet dishes. But this is an illegal practice, as snails are a protected species.

“We are keen to hear from any local Ramblers who may have noticed that there is a decline in the number of snails in Bedfordshire,” said Sam Newby-Ricci, Regional Marketing Officer for the Ramblers.

“It might be difficult to tell but Ramblers are extremely familiar with their local countryside and know what is normal and what is not – I hope that if there has been any illicit plundering of snail stocks that we could alert the relevant authority appropriately.”

Roman snails have to be aged between three and five to breed and the poaching which is thought to have happened in Surrey is believed to have decimated numbers by up to 70%. The snails are known to live and breed in the Chilterns including Dunstable Downs.

The Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981 makes it illegal to "kill, injure or take a Roman snail" or "sell, offer for sale or advertise live or dead Roman snails."

The Ramblers is Britain’s Walking Charity and has five groups throughout the county. Anyone can join the groups for a taster walk and all abilities are catered for.

Why not join the Ivel Valley Walkers on an evening walk around Bedford on July 12? The moderate four mile walk is a celebration of summer. Meet at the Mowsbury Park car park, Kimbolton Road at 7.30pm. Everyone is welcome.


  • Are you interested in becoming a Rambler? The Ramblers is Britains Walking Charity and organises more than 38,000 walks every year.
  • There are more than 115,000 members across the country
  • Membership costs just £31 a year and includes a host of benefits
  • To join today go to: and quote reference U12Y2A


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