A THIEF had a lucky escape after disturbing a hive filled with 80,000 sleeping bees.
Pennywell Youth Project (PYP) has been plagued by a series of thefts in recent weeks.
But the latest incident has left workers gob-smacked after one careless thief raided the centre’s bee hives.
Now fears are being raised that someone could seriously harm themselves if the bee hives continue to be targeted.
Linda Cross, of the Veggie Park Programme at the centre, said: “The worry here is that these people could easily have been stung by the bees and doing this is really dangerous.
“Whoever it was pushed their food over to one side and moved the candy to the entrance. How they’ve managed to do this and not got stung I don’t know.
“There’s 80,000 bees in there and when one bee stings it releases a pheromone, which alerts all of the other bees in the hive, who will then come out and sting.
“Bee stings hurt and multiple bee stings can kill so people really need to remember this when messing about here.”
As well as disrupting the bees, the thieves have raided the gardening project, stealing propagators, seed trays and other tools used to grow plants, fruit and vegetables.
Linda is now calling on the community to help catch the thieves who are destroying the project which is aimed at helping the people of Pennywell and surrounding areas.
“We want to make the community aware that this is their project as much as it is ours,” Linda said.
“We would like people living in the area to remain vigilant and keep an eye out for people breaking into the centre.
“There may not be thousands of pounds worth of damage being done every time but it all adds up and we’re not a charity, we’re trying to make ends meet.”
The bee hives, chicken coop and surrounding allotments are popular with schools in the area.
The site is used to educate others about healthy eating and where foods come from.
Last month, thieves stole three of the centre’s oldest hens, leaving eight behind.
They also took off with a wheelbarrow, straw bales, chicken feeders and other items.
Linda said: “The problem just seems to be getting worse and worse.”
Northumbria Police is investigating the incident.
Anyone with any information is asked to phone police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.