TENS of thousands of bees have died after a group of youths smashed two hives at a company’s patch of wildlife.

Heritage Envelopes Ltd in Blackburn has kept bees on land alongside its factory on Davyfield Road since last year as part of its commitment to helping the environment.

But on Monday evening, a group of youths entered the site – which is open 24 hours a day – and smashed two of the three hives with objects such as sticks.

And on Tuesday afternoon at around 1.45pm the third hive, which was dedicated to shift manager Joey Rasal following his death in January, was destroyed.

The company described him as a well-liked employee who worked at the factory for over 20 years, and whose death shocked staff after he died just days after becoming ill.

A number of conventional memorials, such as a named bench or a tree, was offered to commemorate him but the family - his wife, two boys and daughter – asked for the beehive to be named after him.

Mr Rasal regularly took his family to see the bees to learn about the endangered insects.

The company wants to have a ceremony for the family, which was put on hold when the coronavirus outbreak began, but plans to go ahead with the event soon.

It is believed the same group of four youths targeted the hives both times and this has led to the deaths of at least 20,000 honey bees, which are an endangered species.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Lancashire Telegraph:

Damage caused to the hives

Heritage Envelopes Ltd managing director Mark Sears said: “I am really gobsmacked and devastated.

“We have tried to so something with the environment with the beehives and wildflowers we have next to the factory.

“We keep 150,000 bees here. One of the hives had 30,000 bees and I think we have lost at least 10,000 there.

“Another hive which was smashed had something like 60,000 to 70,000 bees and 10,000 to 20,000 bees have died there.

“People like us are trying to protect honeybees and we thought we had a safe environment here at the side of a factory.

“I did not expect to be dealing with vandalised hives.”

Mr Sears recently paid for two further hives to be fitted but the damage caused has made him think twice about putting them in place.

If you have any information contact police on 101, quoting reference number 979 of July 7.