A BEEKEEPER has warned people after two of his hives were pushed over by a group of youths.

Last Thursday, a group targeted two of Derek Cartwright’s beehives in Horwich - with each one holding anywhere from 10-25,000 bees.

The hives appeared to have been “kicked and pushed” according to Derek, with stills captured by the beekeeper showing a group gathering around one of his hives.

Derek said: “I have a wildlife camera set up to catch animals like deer that will wander around the area.

“It saw the people that were there and when I was at the site.

"I could see that one of the hives had been kicked over. The bees looked like they were still alive but a few may have gone.”

Derek added that he had no issue with curious passersby looking around the area, but that they should “look and not touch.”

The hives, which Derek uses to produce his own brand 'Horwich Honey' are kept in a private location, as he doesn’t want to advertise their location.

He said: “They were on private property in a secluded location so I think they have just come across them, lifted them up and messed around with them.

“Some people will say that they were being inquisitive to see what they were but there are signs all around the area so I’m not having any of that.”

Derek added that one parent who recognised their child had confronted his son about it - and has offered to pay for any damage caused.

Derek estimates that there are upwards of half a million bees across his 14 hives, which are increasingly becoming more active as the weather gets warmer.

He said that the youths were lucky the bees were not more active as they could have caused serious harm to the group.

He added: “They don’t just sting once - a pheromone will alert others in the vicinity to the bees and they will all attack.

“Two hundred bee stings can kill a grown man, so they are lucky it wasn’t worse.

“My message would be to stay away from the hives and look but not touch. It’s fine to look but don’t get up too close.”

The incident is not the first time Derek has been forced to issue alerts about intruders, after suffering a similar incident in 2019.