Optician welcomes ‘natural justice’ as bees see off thieves

WOULD be lead thieves got more than they bargained for after they disturbed a nest of bees on a rooftop.

The Lisburn optician who owned the premises described it as natural justice after the hapless thieves were stung by honeybees he was keeping on the roof.

Sam Baird, a keen beekeeper and past president of Dromore Beekeepers said he first realised there was a problem when water leaked into his opticians premises in Dundonald last week.

A roof inspection revealed vandalised guttering and missing lead flashing. Not all of the lead was removed - some was still rolled up and there was evidence suggesting the vandals were disturbed and had abandoned their dishonest adventure mid-job.

Sam said: “The noise and vibration would trigger the hive defence response and a swarm of angry insects would have attacked the culprits with multiple stings. Bees defend their home and honey with vigour.”

He continued; “Beekeepers regularly keep empty bee-hives on roofs to tempt passing swarms to take up residence. Such a swarm made its home in this ‘lure box’ earlier in the summer and being five metres high gathered nectar and pollen and made honey from city gardens unknown to the population below. This was until the lead thieves came into the bees’ roof-top territory. They would have been stung many times and would have been very sore. More than a dozen or so stings could be life threatening and need medical treatment.”

“Lead vandalism causes so much damage, cost and inconvenience for a few pounds of scrap. I hope lessons have been learned. This is a lesson in natural justice. As a beekeeper I know how aggressively bees can defend the hive, and what multiple stings feel like. I smile when I think of it,” added Sam.

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