A MUM-OF-TWO who thought she spotted dangerous giant hogweed in an area where children play spoke of her fears after her local council and Environment Agency failed to react swiftly.

Sara Kemp said both authorities told her it was not their responsibility to deal with the plant, which has been making national headlines in recent weeks.

Like others, Mrs Kemp, of Madley Park, Witney, had read stories and seen graphic photographs of six people treated for serious injuries after handling hogweed.

So when she saw a field trip of children playing near a plant that looked almost identical, growing by the river near Cogges Manor Farm in Witney, she called her council straight away.

She said: “I called West Oxfordshire District Council and they said to call the Environment Agency, so I did.

“They told me it is “non notifiable”, which means they don’t class it as being dangerous.

“I said it’s growing in a public area where there are children playing and all he kept saying was ‘it’s non notifiable’.”

Exasperated with the response, she called the district council back to see if it would help, only to be told “it’s not our issue”.

She said: “Not once did anyone ask me where this is growing – there was just no interest.

“I’ve got two children myself, I see children playing down there every day now and especially with the summer holidays around the corner I wouldn’t want that to happen to my children or anyone else’s.

It is still not clear if the plant in Witney is hogweed, which looks similar to cow parsley and a number of closely-related species.

Mrs Kemp said she and other mums wanted to warn parents in Witney to beware.

She said: “We’d just like the council or someone to put a sign up at least.”

West Oxfordshire District Council spokeswoman Sara Long said it would investigate if it was given precise location details, and, if the plant was on council land, it would be removed.

The Environment Agency also said it left the responsibility for dealing with the weed to landowners.

Spokeswoman Elisa Orchard added: “It is not a plant which is notifiable, such as Japanese Knotweed, which landowners can be forced to control if they damage other land or property.”

Oxford Botanic Garden declined to identify the plant found by Mrs Kemp.