Bosses at a Warwickshire art gallery left devastated after their bee colony was all but wiped out in two 'bee rustler' attacks are appealing for donations.
Two hives were set up at Compton Verney in April thanks to donations - but in the past six weeks, one has been stolen and the other destroyed in a botched attempted theft, killing many of the bees inside.
The gallery's head of landscape and gardens, Gary Webb, said they would be doing everything they could to try to ensure the remaining bees survive the winter - and vowed that the tradition of bee keeping would continue at the site.
We are shocked that these incidents have occurred and we would ask that all keepers in the region to be extra vigilant to the threat of bee rustling which seems to be on the increase across the country.
However we will not be deterred from keeping bees and will be doing everything we can to keep them safe and support them over winter.
It is important for us to keep them at Compton Verney to share with the public how fascinating these creatures are, demonstrate the integral role they play in our food chain and reap the benefits of the pollination of the flora and fauna at Compton Verney.
Anyone who would like to donate towards a new colony can contact Aly Grimes at the gallery.
Bee rustlers have struck for the second time within weeks at a Warwickshire colony, leaving volunteers devastated and putting the lives of the bees at risk.
Thieves first struck at Compton Verney art gallery in November, removing one of the two hives.
And now the colony has fallen victim to a second attack, in which the bumbling crooks dropped the hive, killing many of the bees and leaving the others at risk of dying from the cold over the winter months.
The bee hives were installed in April thanks to donations from members of the public, and were looked after by volunteer Rod Oates. They thrived over the summer, managing to produce around 40lbs of honey.
The death of some of the bees puts the whole hive at risk, as they crowd together for warmth during the winter - and the fewer they are in number, the more exposed they are to the cold.