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Fifteen million “baby” bees face being destroyed over Brexit import mix up

A British beekeeper could have 15 million “baby” bees seized and burned if he tries to bring them into Britain.

The bees would be destroyed because of post Brexit rules.

Patrick Murfet, MD at Bee Equipment, wanted to import the bees from Italy to help UK farmer pollinate their crops.


Because regulations prohibited him from bringing certain bee species into the UK, he tried to import them through Northern Ireland.

He was warned they could be killed if he did so.

Mr Murfet asked for advice from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) ten months ago but has only received one reply.

A stark Defra email read:

“Illegal imports will be sent back or destroyed, and enforcement action (criminal charges) will be brought against the importer.”

Mr Murfet, who runs his business in Canterbury, Kent, said the lost deal could cost him £100,000.

He has already laid £20,000 on the deail.

He added: “I am a passionate beekeeper; I’ve been doing it for nearly 20 years.

“It’s a monumentally stupid situation for a country supposed to be standing on its own two feet and exporting round the world.”

“So far [Defra] has overseen a policy whereby the UK is only one of three countries in Europe to see a decline in bee colonies.

“Fewer honeybees mean less pollination, less top fruits and more imports.”

A Defra spokesperson said it is working to find a solution and will provide guidance to bee importers and beekeepers as soon as possible.



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