A beekeeper has been left “heartbroken” after thieves used hoovers to steal 130,000 bees which had been rescued from a chimney.
The crooks struck at a remote farm where the bees had been relocated to after the huge swarm were discovered inside a bricked-up fireplace.
Peter Clarke was carefully removing the bees from the £400,000 detached house in Groby, Leicestershire, and rehoming them at a nearby farm.
He believes the thieves hoovered up the bees with a view to selling them on for thousands of pounds.
Clarke said: “I’m absolutely heartbroken. It’s the worst day of my life.
“When I turned up at the farm they were all gone. There were just a handful of dead ones lying on the floor.
“There is no way the bees would have left the larvae. Whoever did this took all the bees including the queen.”
He added: “When I’ve arrived with the bees from the house I park my van on a country lane and walk to the hive site which I thought was unknown to anyone else.
“When I returned to the site all I could see where two separate tyre marks leading to the hives.
“I called police but I don’t think the thieves will be caught. The bees are worth a lot of money – a full healthy hive can fetch £500.”
Leicestershire Police are investigating the theft from the farm in Market Bosworth, which took place between 11pm on Monday, and 10.45am on Tuesday.