Victoria Police are reporting that unsolicited packages of seeds are now being delivered to residents in the region.
In a statement released Tuesday morning, VicPD say they were called by a woman in the 800-block of Dunsmuir Road in Esquimalt after she received a suspicious package from Italy.
When police arrived and opened the package, they found a bag of seeds inside.
According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), over 750 people across Canada reported receiving similar unsolicited packages of seeds as of August 6.
The CFIA investigation to date reveals that these packages have been arriving from several different countries and many are declared at Customs as toys or jewelry.
The seeds themselves are from a range of plant species, including tomato, strawberry, rose and citrus, as well as some weed seeds that are common in Canada.
While the seeds appear to be low risk, those who receive packages are advised not to plant them.
According to the agency, it is still unclear why the seeds are being sent to people across North America, although some recipients reported ordering seeds in the past.
One possible explanation is that an online business is trying to drum up more sales by sending unsolicited products and then posting fake positive reviews, in a process known as “brushing”.
Those who receive these packages are advised to put the seeds, packaging, and mailing label in a sealed bag inside a second sealed bag, and report them to a regional CFIA office.
In B.C., the relevant office is located at 4321 Still Creek Drive, Suite 400, Burnaby and can be reached at 604-292-5700.
More information and instructions on what to do if you have already planted the seeds can be found at this website.