THESSALONIKI, Greece — In the rugged, herb-scented mountains of northwestern Greece, where the border with Albania is a snaking invisible line, trouble is brewing over tea — the wild herbal variety.
It’s illegal in Greece to pick more than a tiny quantity of wild herbs for personal use in traditional infusions.
That ban doesn’t exist in Albania, one of Europe’s poorest nations.
They mostly pick mountain tea — also called ironwort — hawthorn and even primrose, but they are also destroying rare and endangered species in the process.
The looters then sell the herbs for export to pharmaceutical or cosmetics companies, a business that nets Albanian wholesalers tens of millions annually.
She earlier spent the night in a police cell after being arrested in her changing room, minutes after being voted "Miss Bottom" in a contest involving six other British women.
George Economou, the Rhodes chief prosecutor who was also on the bench at yesterday's court hearing, told her: "You and your associates must realise that this kind of behaviour cannot go on indefinitely.
Bunches of mountain tea are on sale in a shop in Athens, on July 1, 2017.
Greek authorities and conservationists say bands of impoverished Albanians make regular forays over the border, illegally harvesting donkey loads of wild herbs and medicinal plants such as mountain tea, also called ironwort, hawthorn and primrose, but also eradicating rare or endangered species.
You have to learn to respect the morals of other people as well, and especially of the country that hosts you."Kyriakos Papathanasiou, the owner of the Bed Rock Club that hosted the contest, was sentenced to two months' imprisonment as an accomplice. Speaking to Greek journalists after being sentenced, Gunning said: "I never expected this. When I found police waiting for me in the changing room I nearly had a heart attack."Within only 10 hours of winning this funny contest, I found myself arrested, sleeping in a police cell, and dragged from a prosecutor to a magistrate, and eventually got hit with an eight-month jail term.