Millions Of Bees Burned Alive In Mystery Arson Attacks In Kent
A beekeeping couple in Kent have been left devastated after their hives were targeted by criminals in a series of night-time arson attacks.
Michaela Tulett and her partner Marco Melo have lost more than 1.5 million honeybees and suffered nearly £10,000 of damage which has left their business in tatters.
Miss Tulett said that she was numb with shock after the most recent attack, which saw 20 hives doused with petrol and torched by an unknown arsonist.
"They are live animals - it's disgusting and a senseless act of violence," she told MailOnline.
The small business, Api-Bees, was first targeted last June when an arsonist poured petrol over hives and set them alight in the dead of night. Around 900,000 bees and 26 hives worth close to £5,000 ($6,880) were destroyed.
The distraught couple are completely baffled as to the attacker's motive, although they have speculated that it could be the work of a jealous rival, or a local homeowner who is upset about the influx of the insects.
They've also said it could be the work of a group of troublemakers who had to be moved on after parking nearby to drink and take drugs.
Whoever is responsible for the fires, they appear to have returned on 17 April, as the same method was used to torch 20 out of 27 bee hives,
Mr Melo said the damage was horrendous.
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"The boxes are made from polystyrene - once on fire they burn very quickly," he said. "Everything was completely burnt.
"The hives are maybe 1ft apart, so they used a lot of petrol. They had to put it on each one."
Miss Tulett, who works full-time as a data analyst, said: "The same area was attacked last year. It could just be a jealous beekeeper.
"If somebody comes in the middle of the night and sets it on fire, there's not a lot we can do."
However, Mr Melo, 49, suggested an angry resident could be to blame for the attacks on the beehives.
"There was a situation about two years ago when we had a lot of bees - about 100 hives," he said. "Someone complained that the bees had been flying around and going on cars, so we reduced the number of boxes.
"It could be them, but it's strange because we reduced the number of bees."
But local residents said they have no idea who set fire to the bees.
"It's hundreds of yards away so the bees are hardly a nuisance. I haven't had problems," one told Mailonline.
Another added: "It's disgraceful what this arsonist has been doing. I hope they catch him."
No arrests have been made as of yet, but Kent Police have insisted that any new evidence that comes to light will be investigated.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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