Three beekeepers have been left devastated after 400,000 bees were 'stolen' overnight in Newquay.
Those looking after the creatures at Tresillian House, near St Newlyn East, were shocked to discover that all five hives had disappeared under darkness on Saturday 11 June.
Each hive is thought to have around 80,000 bees in it, but when keepers went down to check on them on Sunday, they found only an empty stand.
Writing on Facebook, Katie Barnes, wife of main beekeeper, Guy, said: "Just yesterday we were inspecting them, getting excited about the progress and upcoming summer harvest.
"Over 10 years of work with queen bees, swarms and worker bees have been taken away from us over night. It’s not just approx. 80, 000 bees per hive, it's dedication, care and commitment that goes into beekeeping. It’s a responsibility.
"And someone just came with a pickup or a van to @tresillianhouseandgardens and just took the five hives away. All that’s left is an empty stand. It’s devastating, to say the least."
Katie and Guy, along with apprentice beekeepers Allan and Jonny, are now urging for anyone who may have seen something suspicious to get in touch and let them know.
The trio said they have reported the alleged theft to Devon and Cornwall Police and want to raise awareness of the crime. They also said they are hoping that someone might spot the hives if they are placed in a nearby field.