‘It’s sickening’ – Dramatic pictures of beehives burned to ground in suspected arson attack

A fire tore through a community bee project in Ipswich Picture: DANNY THORRINGTON

A fire tore through a community bee project in Ipswich Picture: DANNY THORRINGTON - Credit: DANNY THORRINGTON

Beekeepers have blasted suspected arsonists after an Ipswich apiary used by children, families and people with disabilities was burned to the ground.

Aftermath of a suspected arson attack on the People's Community Garden in Ipswich Picture: DANNY THO

Aftermath of a suspected arson attack on the People's Community Garden in Ipswich Picture: DANNY THORRINGTON - Credit: DANNY THORRINGTON

Volunteers at the People’s Community Garden, behind Ormiston Academy, are devastated after a blaze left a trail of destruction at the site, killing a colony of bees in its wake.

Arsonists are suspected of starting the fire between 12.30pm and 1.45pm on Wednesday, September 5, and police are working to establish what happened.

Project leaders lost a colony of bees in the blaze – worth £4,500 – and most of their equipment was also destroyed.

“We were sitting having lunch when we noticed plumes of smoke coming from the bee area, and alerted Danny (ActivGardens project co-ordinator Danny Thorrington),” said volunteer Kevin Brown.

ActiLives project co-ordinator Danny Thorrington Picture: SAM THURLOW

ActiLives project co-ordinator Danny Thorrington Picture: SAM THURLOW - Credit: SAM THURLOW

Mr Thorrington grabbed a fire extinguisher and ran to the site, but the blaze had already taken hold.

“It’s sickening, really,” he said. “To think we’ve had about 1,000 visitors since January, it’s a very popular project and most of them are regular. “Unfortunately we lost a colony of bees, all of them were burned.

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“But we managed to salvage some of the eggs inside that hive, and they’ve now been adopted in another hive.”

Firefighters arrived to tackle the flames but were unable to save the buildings.

Now people involved in the project want to raise £5,000 with a MyDonate page – to “keep their bees buzzing”.

Police confirmed they are investigating the blaze.

Witnesses and anyone with information should call 101, quoting reference number 37/519/32/18.