An Eltham-based activity centre needs assistance this summer to track down an extremely rare plant.

International Nature Forensics Organisation (INFo)’s head scientist Helena Whittington said: “My friend Oscar Sterling is in BIG trouble.

“He’s been accused of stealing the precious seeds of the Calix, an extremely rare plant that his great grandmother brought back from the African plains over 100 years ago. It’s been buried in secret at Eltham College for all this time but now it’s just been stolen.”

Last week, the college’s head of security woke up to find the plant gone and had no recollection of the previous night, where a conference had seen 50 plant scientists from around the world gather.

He fears he might have been poisoned.

Ms Whittington said: “It could have been any of them! And whoever it is, they’re clearly trying to frame Oscar.”

She is now appealing for help from ‘smart people’ this summer holiday to:

• Secure the crime scene

• Collect soil and pollen evidence

• Break a nature code

• Identify poisons

• Track footsteps

• Dissect plants

• Build camouflaged lookouts

• Lay nature baits

And, ultimately, catch the thief and recover the plant seeds.

Ms Whittington said: “You’ll be based in the field, with access to all the technology you might need. “Using your team iPods, you’ll need to be cool under pressure, quick to come up with ideas and not afraid to get your hands dirty to track down the culprit.”

The Mysterious Case of the Stolen Calix is one of the missions at The Hive, based at Eltham College, this summer, from July 14 to August 22. Go to