Police launch urgent hunt for thief after thousands of bees stolen

North Wales Police are on the hunt for a thief who has stolen 14 beehives which contain thousands of bees.

They suspect that the hives were likely taken at night by someone who has knowledge of beekeeping.

The specific number of bees stolen has not yet been released however police have begun their appeal for information about anyone with a “sudden influx” of hives in the area.

The hives were stolen from near the Llangollen, Denbigshire area between Monday and Wednesday.

Police have said that the owner has lost both thousands of pounds and thousands of bees.

Cathy Williams, an experienced beekeeper, said that the theft would have been a “terrible blow” for the owner, who will lose out on money from the loss of honey.

Witnesses have been urged to come forward.

PCSO Iwan Owen, of the North Wales Rural Crime team said: “Bit of an unusual one for you today – we’ve had reports that 14 beehives with incumbent bees have been stolen from this location sometime between 8am Saturday morning and possibly about midnight on Monday.

“This is an appeal for anyone who’s seen anything suspicious in that time [and suspicious] to the beekeeping community.

“They are likely to have been taken late at night after the bees have presumably returned to the hive.

“14 hives have gone so it’s likely to be a vehicle similar to a long wheelbase Ford Transit or a trailer, so are you aware of somebody who has a sudden influx of beehives [or] someone who’s starting to sell new hives, please get in touch.”

Williams, who practices beekeeping in her spare time, described the loss as “catastrophic”.

“If it was a bee farmer - it was 14 hives that were stolen - that would make a big punch in his profits for the year, a huge punch and it would set him right back to next year,” she added.

Williams has been beekeeping for almost a decade, and she has eight hives which produce about 226kg of honey a year.

Continuing the speak about the recent theft, Williams described why the loss is so devastating.

"It's because the colony goes on from year to year, season to season through its lifecycle and if you've lost all those bees, you're not going to have honey from those colonies next year, it's really very serious.

"If they are hobby beekeepers like me then you have lost everything. It's a terrible blow."

At this time of the year bees are making plenty of honey in preparation for winter, Williams explained.

Therefore, she agrees with the police that the person who took the hives has a very good knowledge of the insects.

"So the colonies now are pretty big, on the whole, so whoever has taken these has got very probably very good sturdy colonies, which will then go through the winter.

"If they were to steal spring colonies, they will probably be a lot smaller.

"So again, whoever has stolen them knows what they're doing.”