130,000 honeybees rescued from the chimney of a house in Leicestershire have been stolen.

Beekeeper Peter Clarke spent three days removing honeybees found in a property in Groby by the new homeowners.

The bees had created a 15-foot honeycomb from behind the blocked up fireplace in the living, to the top of the chimney.

Beekeeper Peter removed the bees with a vacuum device Credit: BPM Media

The bees and their queen were transferred to a new hive at Barlestone, near Market Bosworth - leaving them in woodland in seven separate boxes with their honeycomb and hundreds of larvae.

Peter was planning to donate the honeybees to a wildflower farm nearby.

But after he left the site just before midnight on Tuesday 23 June, two vehicles drove onto the site and – Peter suspects – used a vacuum machine similar to his own to remove the bees.

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“The bees are gone and there are just a handful of dead ones lying around.

Peter Clarke, beekeeper

He said he usually parked in a nearby lane and walked to the hive site, which he thought was unknown to anyone else.

When he returned to the site this morning, he could see that two separate tyre marks led from the road to the site of the hives. The thieves had opened a gate and driven into the woodland off Newbold Road.

“The bees are worth a lot of money. A full, healthy hive could fetch up to £500." “For me it’s not about the money – it’s about saving the bees."

Peter Clarke, beekeeper

A spokesman for Leicestershire Police said the theft was believed to have taken place some time between 11pm yesterday, and 10.45am today.

Anyone with information about the theft is asked to call the police on 101.