A bungling burglar got more than they bargained for when they attempted a break-in at a storage unit in Potters Fields Park – as they were greeted with two hive-loads of disturbed bees.
The unknown criminal is thought to have staged a failed night-time heist, jumping over an eight-foot-high fence which surrounds the storage unit at the park’s apiary to have an “opportunistic look.”
But instead they landed directly onto a hive of angry bees.
Dale Gibson, who keeps the bees at the Potters Fields apiary as part of his Bermondsey Street Bees honey business, said: “There would have been two hive-loads of bees interested in what was happening.
“They can be very defensive if someone knocks down their front door!”
The crime has not been reported to police by Mr Gibson, or by the trust who run the site, he said.
“They [the trust] feel it was just a one-off. A person who thought ‘what’s the down-side’ – well they found out what the down-side was,” he told the News.
The bees were “were sad that you left so quickly and empty-handed – and they hope that those swellings will go down soon,” the business said in a message to the hapless criminal.
Photos taken after the scene was discovered on by a member of the public on Monday (February 25) show a hive knocked down to its side, raising fears for their wellbeing.
Luckily however, the bees were fine after their brush with the suspected burglar, due to the unseasonably warm weather.
“If it had happened in a storm, it would have been very serious for the bees,” said Mr Gibson, who has been keeping the insects since 2007.
The “feckless” criminal’s motives are not known, but the business owner suspects they did not intend to steal a hive, but were after the tools and equipment kept in storage.
“There’s a lot of hive thefts over the country, I don’t think they were looking to steal the hive, I think it was more an opportunistic look at the equipment,” said Dale who runs the business with his wife, Sarah Wyndham-Lewis, who extraordinarily is allergic to bees.
But Mr Gibson added: “There isn’t much physical evidence, we haven’t got any evidence to the event, we just have evidence of what happened after.”