Government advice site on bees included link to escort services

Online advice offered by the UK Government about bees has been found to mistakenly include a link to a website offering escort services.

A bee flies next to a dandelion flower on a spring day. Picture: Janek Skarzynski/AFP/Getty Images

The Bees’ Needs campaign from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), dated July 2014, offers advice on how to help pollinating insects such as planting “bee-friendly flowers”.

However, under the “find out more” section of the page, users were linked to an external website that lists hundreds of UK addresses, all of which then take the user to the escort service website.

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“The Alternative To Escorts,” reads the website tagline. “Get Laid For Free! Sex does not have to be complicated.”

Defra says the link on the Bees’ Needs website was correct at the time of publication five years ago, but the owner of the domain name had since changed.

The department has now updated the information after they were alerted to the issue.

After being contacted about the issue, a Defra spokesman said: “We are working hard to support our bees and other pollinators – as these species are essential for pollinating crops and in turn human survival.

“Our Biodiversity and National Pollinator strategies have helped to create over 130,000 hectares of wildlife-rich habitat and our 25-year Environment Plan will develop a Nature Recovery Network to protect and restore wildlife.

“Furthermore the Bees’ Needs campaign brings together conservation groups, farmers, beekeepers to promote good practical advice so we can all do more to provide suitable habitats for bees and other insects.”

The original Bees’ Needs press release was posted by Defra and former undersecretary for the department Lord de Mauley.

The website now asks users to search for the Bees’ Needs site, which is run by the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.

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