Black market raid on bees

Tuesday 16 September 1997 23:02

Police fear millions of honey bees stolen from the Peak District National Park may be sold on the black market. Thieves took 27 hives worth pounds 4,000, containing about 2.5 million bees and a large quantity of honey, at Beeley Moor, Derbyshire. A gamekeeper patrolling on Sunday discovered the theft.

Police are investigating possible links with an epidemic which has destroyed bee stocks in the south of England. The red grub parasite varroa, originating in India, is blamed for an Aids-type virus which reportedly wiped out 80 per cent of bees in Kent last year and seriously damaged the pounds 12m-a- year honey industry.

Derbyshire Police believed the theft could be linked to this dramatic fall in bee numbers and was probably carried out by someone who knew the trade. Acting Inspector John Roughton said: "We are assuming that this person knew something about bees otherwise they would have to be an absolute idiot. We think they were stolen during the hours of darkness when someone in the know would realise that the bees would be inactive. They have got to have had a large vehicle, probably an open-top truck, to move this sort of equipment and may have been wearing some sort of protection."

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