Foragers have been warned of an abundance of magic mushrooms after the mild winter caused the psychedelic fungi to thrive.
Specialists say the warmer weather means the psychedelic, naturally-occurring class-A drug has been found growing in large numbers across Staffordshire and Shropshire.
John Hughes, a fungi expert at Shropshire Wildlife Trust, warned: “The longer the season, the greater the risk foragers could accidentally pick something hallucinogenic, so with the warmer winter this is definitely more of a risk this year than in previous years.
“The key thing foragers should be aware of is not to pick anything you’re not sure what it is.
“It is as simple as that, because there are many things out there which are toxic.”
Usually, the fungi, found on grasslands and pastures grazed by sheep due to the nutrient-rich manure, are long gone by this time of year, but the mild and wet weather means they have stuck around.
Amateur mushroom enthusiasts have therefore been told to err on the side of caution.
The mushrooms are illegal to possess, cultivate, transport or sell in the UK, but it is not an offence for them to be grown on your land as they live in the wild.
Jane Traynor, from the Staffordshire Fungi Group, said: “Psilocybe semilanceata are quite common and you do find quite a lot of them around Staffordshire.