Beekeper’s livestock is being targeted by thieves
Beekeepers are wondering what more they can do to protect their hives as the prosecution rate for theft remains low.
In the past year, 375 beehives have been reported stolen between Palmerston North and Whanganui, a distance of about 75 kilometres.
In Northland, about $500,000 worth of hives were stolen earlier this year.
A 50-year-old salesman from rural Palmerston North has been charged with stealing eight beehives in Manawatu recently.
‘‘Within a week, three of them were dead. So we’re out of pocket about $7000, $8000 each at the moment.
‘‘We’ve only received back one good hive.’’
Sinkinson said gaining a prosecution would be huge, as the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) would not let prosecuted beekeepers sell to packers, something he thought would be a major deterrent for thieves.
But getting the police to investigate his theft was difficult, Sinkinson said.
‘‘The first cop I talked to said ‘they’re hardly worth anything, they’re a box of bees’.
‘‘They just don’t see the value in it, they would rather be chasing stolen cars.’’
Losing eight hives meant a $14,000 income loss, which excluded the cost of the physical hives themselves, Sinkinson said.
‘‘It’s people’s income, it’s our livelihood, and people think they can just steal them and get away with it.
‘‘I work hard and they think they can take them and make money from them.’’
Sinkinson felt the lack of prosecutions meant people thought they could get away with it, even though most hives were marked and could be traced back to their owners.
Police co-ordinator of community policing Senior Sergeant Alasdair Macmillan said police were concerned about beehive theft becoming more common in the Central Policing District as it was costing beekeepers millions of dollars each year.
‘‘It's people's income, it's our livelihood, and people think they can just steal them and get away with it.’’ Gary Sinkinson
Beehive thefts are making life tough for beekeepers who say police have little to no interest in the matter.