More than 100,000 bees have been targeted by rustlers in the past month alone – and keepers fear the culprits are from their own ranks

There was a lump in Katie Hayward’s throat as she spoke about the emotional impact of the thefts that have cast a shadow over Britain’s beekeepers. “The heartbreaking thing is that it’s a very close community. The fact that one beekeeper does this to another is the hardest thing of all,” she says.

Two years have now passed since Hayward’s farm in north Wales was raided, leading to the loss of tens of thousands of bees. But the rustlers have continued to be active. Most recently they have targeted the property of one of her Anglesey neighbours, where around 40,000 bees were taken last month.

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