ST MARY and St Melor Church in Amesbury was a hive of activity as a colony of around 30 to 40,000 bees were discovered after repair work started on its roof.

Beekeepers were brought in to investigate after reports of scaffolders getting stung.

Mark Verbinnen, who is a board member for the St Mary and St Melor Appeal which was launched to raise money for the urgent roof repairs, said: "A few weeks ago we discovered that a lot of the scaffolders were getting stung so we we invited some beekeepers to have a look.

"They found what you see in the video, which is quite a large nest that they think has been there for about three years now. They estimate there were around 30 to 40,000 bees there.

"Yesterday they spent all day clearing them out right up until dusk, about 10pm. So the work can now carry on on the roof."

"In terms of the bees they will now be sent to a quarantined hive and will be managed there. They won't be killed," he added.

Mark says previous reports of the bees were investigated but they were never located.

"Where this hive is is a completely inaccessible place unless you take the roof apart. It is underneath the lead of the roof but it is a church building so we're talking about 60ft in the air so it is not just somewhere you can go and have a look," explains Mark.

"We had a theory there was a nest but nowhere near the scale you see in the video."

Mark says he was told by the beekeeper that it was the "biggest" he has seen in a long time.

Mark says the roof repairs are "going well", adding: "The urgent work to prop everything up happened so nothing is going to fall down. We are still fundraising and a little bit short of where we need to be."

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Around £50,000 still needs to be raised towards the roof.

The church is also planning future projects to safeguard the building for the future.

For more information about the appeal and how to donate go to