Vandal strike in Fife threatens a million bees

ALMOST a million bees have been endangered by a vandal who emptied a huge vat of the artificial honey that sustains them.

Millions of bees at threat after vandals strike. Picture: Greg Macvean
Millions of bees at threat after vandals strike. Picture: Greg Macvean

Businessman Steve Madley imported the 950-litre container from the USA to feed the bees in a new 10-hive sanctuary he’s setting up in Kirkcaldy, Fife.

An intruder, caught on CCTV, deliberately emptied the bulk container at a building on the Mitchelston Industrial Estate, letting the honey stream down the road.

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Mr Madley has taken to social media to try to find the man responsible.

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CCTV footage appears to show him trying various doors and windows to gain entry to the premises at the old Strand Lighting building in Mitchelston Industrial Estate on Monday evening before turning his attention to a large intermediate bulk container (IBC) inside a cage.

That was practically destroyed but, more importantly, its contents are now providing food for the ants and wasps in the building’s drive and car park rather than the bees in the bee sanctuary Mr Madley is in the process of setting up.

The 10 hives at the Kirkcaldy site could potentially house just shy of a million bees, although a significant proportion of those are unlikely to survive unless replacement food can be sourced quickly.

“We’re just starting out,” Mr Madley said. “The land up there is wild and untouched for 12 or so years, so there’s a lot of wildflower growth up there and what we want to do is build a sanctuary for bees.

“We’ve got a number of hives up there and what we’re trying to do is increase the bee population if we can because we have a bee shortage global crisis.

“This IBC contains a bee food that we had imported from America – it’s basically a synthetic honey to keep them alive and we only got it a few weeks ago. It’s the next best thing to honey and this stuff costs around £1,000, so it’s not cheap to do.

“But this guy has decided to try and kick off the IBC tap and then pull it off fully, so all the liquid was running down the road. To be honest, if we can’t get it replaced quick enough then I reckon we’ll lose between 250,000 to 400,000 bees.”

Mr Madley, managing director for Crossgates firm Airsoft World Ltd, stressed this was a personal venture which he has ploughed his own money into.

Sadly, the company which supplied the honey container is no longer doing so, which means he is now having to look into urgent alternatives.

Mr Madley said the CCTV footage shows the vandal stealing a large water bottle from a water cooler, and also shows him raking around in a nearby burger van.