By Lauren Beavis via SWNS
Thousands of bees stolen from a country estate have returned by themselves - after apparently fleeing their captors.
More than 400,000 of the insects were stolen in five hives - with officials believing the culprit is likely to be a local beekeeper.
They were stolen from Tresillian House, Cornwall, UK, in an audacious heist. The culprit's tire tracks in the grass was the only evidence.
Police said they believed the hives were being stored locally - and now the industrious honey makers have started to return of their own accord.
Assistant beekeeper Kathrin Barnes said the returning bees were being put into a new hive as they returned.
They suspect the bees are nearby and hope all will return to the estate in St Newlyn East, Cornwall.
She said: "There are so many it indicates that they are nearby and are on their way back home.
"If bees are moved less than a mile they go back to where they were before.
"They will probably all come back if they are chasing after a smell, that's our hope."
The five hives were taken between 6pm on June 11 and 6 am on June 12.
Head beekeeper Guy Barnes said he felt "stressed and emotional" by the theft.
He said each hive contained 80,000 bees and removing all five of them would have required expertise and a large vehicle.
Guy said he believed the heist must have been carried out by another beekeeper as beehives are heavy and tricky to transport and handle.
He said: "It might have been for the money, but I don’t know. Unfortunately, my gut feeling is it’s another keeper.
''You’d need to know what time of day to get them, have multiple people, and have a vehicle big enough to transport them.
''They are such an important part of our local eco-system. For beekeepers, it's a labor of love and it's ten years' work.
"I got the devastating call on Sunday morning, and photos of this pair of tracks going into the field and just empty sites where all these hives were.''
Sgt Steve Applewhite, who is also a beekeeper, said: "We have been told that some bees have returned to the site where the hives were, before being stolen, this means that it is likely that these hives have been initially relocated or stored only a few miles away from Tresillian house.
''It would also take quite a large vehicle to carry a cargo of this considerable weight and it would be incredibly difficult to handle and carry alone.
"It is a well-used road so it is very likely that passing drivers may have seen suspicious people or the vehicle carrying the hives.
"This crime is of concern as not only has it meant that a person’s property has been stolen, but as a beekeeper myself, I am also concerned for the welfare of the stolen bees.
''We are appealing for witnesses and asking for anyone who was in the area late Saturday and into Sunday to report anything of note. We are also asking for our public to check CCTV and road users to check dashcams in case they have captured anything of note."
Stories and infographics by ‘Talker Research’ are available to download & ready to use. Stories and videos by ‘Talker News’ are managed by SWNS. To license content for editorial or commercial use and to see the full scope of SWNS content, please email email@example.com or submit an inquiry via our contact form.
What do people lie about on their online dating profiles?
This story version has been formatted as an on-air script for broadcast outlets. See the original research story here. HALF (47%)...
Should the holiday season last longer?
Is there enough time in the holiday season to do everything we want to do?
Meet the man with a knack for kettlebell juggling
"Getting fit and discovering I have a real talent for kettlebell juggling has had such a positive impact on my...
Tortoise celebrates his 190th birthday
Jonathan has lived through two World Wars, watched more than 35 governors of the island come and go and has...
Why this flower with ability to change color may help feed the world
By Mark Waghorn via SWNS A spectacular flower with a unique color-changing ability may hold the key to feeding the...
- Quizzes2 days ago
Take a swipe at our online dating quiz
- Outer Space6 days ago
Wall-E-like robot to provide power on Moon by 2025
- Art6 days ago
Sir Ringo Starr selling life-size statues of his famous Peace and Love hand gesture
- Holidays2 days ago
Should the holiday season last longer?
- Health5 days ago
Top reasons American seniors avoid going to the doctor
- Holidays3 days ago
Stunning photos show 100,000 colorful poinsettias ready for Christmas
- Outer Space3 days ago
NASA grants 3D printing company $57.2 million to build towns on lunar surface
- Outer Space5 days ago
Photos capture the Moon photobombing the Sun