Grandad’s fury at neighbour ‘who uses bees as weapons’ to keep him out of garden

A retired couple claim their next-door- neighbours are "using bees as weapons" against them and they can't use their garden.

Steve Chandler and his wife Ann, both 71, claim bee-mad Dee Heyward-Ponte, 47, and her husband Christian, 48, are placing the bees there deliberately so the couple can't use their garden, reports KentOnline.

Mr Chandler, from Kent, claimed the couple next door were "unpleasant, they're not very nice people" yet Mrs Heyward-Ponte – who admitted they did have five hives in the back garden at one point – said they didn't even realise there was a problem until their neighbour crawled into their garden saying he'd been stung.

It all started on May 27 when retired the farm worker went into his back garden in Cleaver, Sissinghurst, to pot some plants with his daughter.

He said: "My daughter and I were out in the garden to do some pots, she got stung and we were surrounded by bees. This is not my life, not one I've worked for.

"My daughter got quite badly stung. We had about 300 bees all over us, there were all in our hair, we had to come indoors, we couldn't stay out there.

"You can't speak to the neighbours, they are so unpleasant, they're not very nice people. The bees have been put there deliberately so we can't use our garden, those bees don't need to be there. This is unnecessary harassment as far as I'm concerned."

Mr Chandler said he had phoned the local council and was referred to the environment agency but claimed "they weren't interested". He said he even had to mow the lawn at night now, after the furry creatures had gone to sleep in their hives.

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Mrs Heyward-Ponte and husband Christian have been members of the British Beekeeping Association for two years. She admitted they had rescued thousands of bees and things had got "a little bit out of control" but claimed their neighbours never said they had a problem.

She said: "We had two small hives in the back garden but then swarm season came around and we were rescuing swarms from places and extracting bees.

"In the space of about a week, we suddenly had another three colonies of bees in our back garden. We fully intended to move them out of the garden to different locations where we keep our bees in the local area.

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"It kind of happened a little bit out of control. It was all a little bit out of our hands because people were needing bees to be rescued and that's what we do."

She claimed there was an incident last year but it all ended "very amicable" after she and husband Christian "went straight round, we hoovered them up, moved them over and we gave them a jar of our honey".

However she admitted Mr Chandler had "crawled over the fence" to speak to them last Saturday to tell them they'd been "stung loads of times".

She said: "Bear in mind we're in the garden where all the colonies are and none of us have been stung. I'm not saying he wasn't stung, it's quite possible he was stung, but they haven't swarmed any garden at all because we watch them everyday.

"The point is he never said a single thing to us until Saturday morning and he was all frantic and angry. We said to him we were really sorry and we explained to him what had happened and we were planning to move them that weekend."

Four of the five hives have now been removed, with the remaining one due to go yesterday but rain stopped the couple from taking it to a local farm.

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