Sticky fingers could cause death of Kirkcaldy honey bees

The scene of the crime at Mitchelston Industrial Estate
The scene of the crime at Mitchelston Industrial Estate
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The lives of hundreds of thousands of honey bees in Kirkcaldy could be in jeopardy after a vital food source for them was vandalised on Monday night.

CCTV footage appears to catch the culprit red-handed as he is seen to break the tap on a large plastic container, causing 940 litres of synthetic honey to spill out onto and flow down the entrance road next to a large storage unit on the town’s Mitchelston Industrial Estate.

Honey bees

Honey bees

And the bees’ owner, Fife businessman Steve Madley, who is in the process of setting up a bee sanctuary, says the thoughtless action may have put their lives at risk.

Mr Madley, managing director of Crossgates-based outdoor sports firm Airsoft World Ltd, made an appeal on social media for any information on the man responsible, with footage from the CCTV showing images of him.

It stated: “Does anyone know who this guy is? Just entered our land at Strand Lighting building in Mitchelston Industrial Estate, Kirkcaldy.

‘‘ He tried doors and windows to gain entry to the building then decided to empty an entire IBC (those large square plastic liquid containers in a cage,mounted on a pallet) which was filled with 940 litres of honey for feeding our bees.

‘‘It’s all now running down the road.”

Around a million bees are housed in hives in a field next to the unit, which was formerly owned by Strand Lighting.

The synthetic honey was stored in a metal container with a tap attached, and quantities of the synthetic honey put out on trays to substitute the bees’ food supply.

However it has now become food for hoards of ants and wasps as well as the bees in the area, and Mr Madley fears that up to half of his honey bees could perish if an alternative replacement food source can’t be found quickly.

“We’re just starting out,” he said. “The land up there is wild and untouched for 12 or so years, so there’s a lot of wildflower growth 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 metal container has 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 £1000, so it’s not cheap to do.”

He added that the company he had ordered the synthetic honey from was no longer making it, so he was having to look for alternatives.

Mr Madley added that the bee sanctuary was a personal venture which he had ploughed his own money into.

He said the CCTV footage shows the man stealing a water bottle from a water cooler and raking around a nearby burger van as well as breaking the tap on the IBC (Intermediate Bulk Container).

Police Scotland have also issued an appeal for the public’s assistance and say their enquiries are ongoing and that they are following “a positive line of enquiry.”