'Cruel, unprovoked and completely unnecessary act of violence' at Wisbech Castle leaves 10,000 rare bees dead

PUBLISHED: 14:40 30 January 2020 | UPDATED: 15:24 30 January 2020

Police have released CCTV footage of a “cruel, unprovoked and completely unnecessary act of violence” at Wisbech Castle that left 10,000 rare bees dead. Hundreds of beehives, which were part of the castle’s British black bee conservation project, were deliberately damaged by intruders who broke into the castle grounds at around 5.15am on January 8. Police are now trying to identify the two men pictured. Picture: POLICE

Police have released CCTV footage of a "cruel, unprovoked and completely unnecessary act of violence" at Wisbech Castle that left 10,000 rare bees dead. Hundreds of beehives, which were part of the castle's British black bee conservation project, were deliberately damaged by intruders who broke into the castle grounds at around 5.15am on January 8. Police are now trying to identify the two men pictured. Picture: POLICE

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CCTV has been released of a "cruel, unprovoked and completely unnecessary act of violence" at Wisbech Castle that left 10,000 rare bees dead.

Hundreds of beehives, which were part of the castle's British black bee conservation project, were deliberately damaged by intruders who broke into the castle grounds at around 5.15am on January 8.

After lifting the lids off of the hives the two male suspects then kicked the hives and attacked the bees inside with sticks.

The incident has left the castle team in need of £2,000 to restart the conservation project in the spring.

At the time of the attack, Councillor Steve Tierney, who is the chairman of the Wisbech Castle committee, branded the intruders as "brain dead morons".

He said: "There was no reason to do this, there was nothing to be gained; it was simply to destroy bee hives and bees for some sort of sick pleasure of destruction.

"We hope these morons are caught and punished. It is lucky for them some of the volunteers did not catch them in the act."

Cllr Tierney said at the time that volunteers were repairing the damage although "there is little doubt that we have lost a number of bees and the conservation project has been set back".

Three hives were introduced in July 2019 as part of a black bee conversation project to protect the endangered species and a beekeeper's club for adults and children was launched.

He said the castle has "fairly comprehensive CCTV but when people are wearing coats and hoods, or the video is at range and they are fast-moving, CCTV is not as effective as you might think".

He said the attack added to a list of break-ins that included the theft of gifts bags from Santa's grotto in December and a fairy walk for children was smashed earlier.

He added that "ridiculous and counter productive" heritage laws prevented them taking proper security measures.

"Some wall spikes, anti-climb paint and other counter-intrusion measures would make this much easier," he said.

"If we are worried about damage to the ancient wall, you should see the damage that is being done to it by full-grown adults and large youths climbing over it all the time.

"Volunteers are very angry. We won't be resting on this and will be having an urgent meeting to discuss countermeasures."

PC Kirsty Hulley, who is investigating, said: "This was a cruel, unprovoked and completely unnecessary act of violence and castle staff are, understandably, devastated by the incident.

Anyone with information regarding this incident should call police on 101 quoting 35/1817/20 or visit www.cambs.police.uk/report.

Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

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