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Beekeeper told his 15,000,000 bees could be seized and burned because of Brexit

Patrick Murfet wants to bring 15million bees to the UK but they could be seized and destroyed

A beekeeper trying to bring 15 million bees into the UK says he has been told they may be seized and burned because of post-Brexit laws. Patrick Murfet wants to import the baby Italian bees for his Kent business and to help farmers pollinate valuable crops. But new laws that came into effect after the UK left the single market mean that bringing bees into the country is banned. Since the end of the transition period, only queen bees can be imported into Great Britain, rather than colonies and packages of bees. However, confusion over whether bees can be brought in via Northern Ireland has caused a legal headache. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said it is aware of the issue and is working with the devolved administrations to find a solution. Patrick said: ‘I am a passionate beekeeper, I’ve been doing it for nearly 20 years.’ He is managing director of Bee Equipment, based near Canterbury, and every year he imports large numbers of bees from breeders in Italy, where the climate is warmer. For decades, bees have been imported to replenish stocks, strengthen breeding lines and as early-awakening pollinators for fruit and honey farms in the UK. But the new ban could put this in jeopardy.