Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Vandalism puts thousands of bees at risk of starvation

beehive Image copyright Steve Madley
Image caption Mr Madley has been beekeeping as a hobby for about a year

A vandal who attacked a beekeeping site in Fife may have put the lives of thousands of bees at risk, according to their owner.

The site in Kirkcaldy was broken into on Monday, and a container filled with 940 litres of honey substitute used to feed the bees was emptied.

A Facebook appeal for information posted by owner Steve Madley has since been shared almost 3,000 times.

He claims the lives of up to 400,000 bees have been endangered.

The vandal was caught on CCTV on Mr Madley's property, where he reportedly tried to open doors and windows before turning his attention to the container.

Image copyright Steve Madley
Image caption A man was caught on CCTV entering the property

Mr Madley said he then kicked the container, filled with £1000 worth of liquid, before manually forcing it open with his hands.

Of the 800,000 bees he keeps, Mr Madley said around 5,000 have already died after 'pouncing' on the escaped honey and becoming stuck.

Speaking to BBC Scotland, he said: "This is going to set us back about a year, because we need to wait for the bees to re-populate themselves.

"If you don't have a full hive by the time winter hits, they can't keep themselves warm and they die of exposure."

He said the sugary mixture, which is used to keep the bees healthy over winter months, is not available in the UK and must be imported from overseas.

Mr Madley started beekeeping a year ago as a hobby and to increase the population of bees in Scotland.

He said his supply of the liquid would have lasted until next year, but a replacement must now be found in order to keep the bees alive.

A spokesperson for Police Scotland said: "Police in Fife are currently investigating a report of an attempted break-in and vandalism, which took place on Monday 8 August at a premises on Mitchelston Industrial Estate in Kirkcaldy.

"Officers are currently following a positive line of enquiry, however anyone who may have witnessed any suspicious behaviour in the area or have information which can assist is urged to contact Police Scotland on 101."

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