A BEEKEEPER has spoken of his disappointment as it emerged that no one will face justice for torching his hives and destroying a world-famous bee breeding programme.

Two youths and an 18-year-old were charged with setting the fire that caused more than £21,000-worth of damage to the apiary at Stanton Country Park last year.

But at Swindon Youth Court last week it was confirmed that the Crown Prosecution Service had discontinued proceedings. One of the men, Jay Lockyer, 18, was given a six month conditional discharge and ordered to pay a £21 victim surcharge, as he admitted possession of a headtorch stolen from the site. 

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One of the boys who faced the arson charge and who cannot be named because he is still under-18, was given a two year custodial sentence last December for torching a £1.3m cottage in Wroughton. 

Ron Hoskins of the Swindon Honeybee Conservation Group said it was “most disappointing” the CPS had abandoned the prosecution. 

The 89-year-old has spent more than two decades breeding a bee that is immune to the deadly Varroa mite, which has decimated honeybee populations. 

He told the Adver that hives had been pushed over. "That has caused a lot of damage to the future of beekeeping because I was breeding a bee that was immune to a virus that is a killer of bees nationwide. 

“It does appear that I don’t have any more bees to breed from. We couldn’t breed any last year because we didn’t have the facilities.”

He added: “It took me 25 years to breed this bee. I don’t have another 25 years. The loss to beekeeping is ginormous.” 

Mr Hoskins has put up a notice by his Stanton apiary calling on anyone with information about the arson attack to contact Wiltshire Police.

A CPS spokesperson said: “The CPS has a duty to keep cases under continuing review and following a further review, we concluded there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction.”

In the wake of last year’s fire, more than £20,000 was raised online for the Swindon Honeybee Conservation Group

“I want to say thank you to everybody who donated, of course, because that was wonderful. That has more or less put us back on our feet,” Mr Hoskins said. 

Wiltshire Police was approached for comment.