Gardeners have been warned to watch out for dangerous metallic objects, after a laser gun was found in a crop of potatoes in a Mansfield allotment.
When officers went to investigate the plot, a 12-bore rifle was seen peeping out above a row of beetroots. Several pistols have also been found under freshly strewn compost.
All these weapons have registration marks which identify them as police property.
"I just love tending the shoots in my garden," said recently retired constable Rex Copper. "Being a beginner I've not got any gardening tools, but I'm pretty handy with these guns - and they're just the job for making holes for planting bulbs and stuff. But sometimes they get covered in soil. Anyway, I always wear my bullet-proof vest when I'm gardening."
Another part-time policeman, also new to gardening, had been using daggers for digging. "He started off this summer," said one gardener, "using a pea-shooter to harvest peas. And then I saw him with a water-pistol instead of a watering can. He used to thump the weeds with his cosh."
All allotment users will now be frisked as they pass through the new security gate set up by the Police Federation's Weapons of Mass Cultivation Society.