$18 000 of beehive equipment stolen amid Euroa bushfire

By Ed McLeish

During the Balmattum Hill bushfire on Saturday, January 4, 60 beehive boxes were stolen from a site on Forlonge Memorial Rd in Euroa.

Apiarist and hive owner John Hill said he estimated the cost of the hives and containers, which he spent hours making, to be about $18 000.

“I’m feeling absolutely gutted; when I first got there, I was so pissed off and I can’t believe someone has done it,” he said.

“The perpetrator cut the lock.”

Mr Hill arrived at the site about 6 pm on the Saturday night, where he found 60 out of his 150 beehives were stolen.

Euroa police Senior Constable Peter Bath said the investigation was ongoing.

“Due to our hands being full with the busy nature of the fires over the weekend, we haven’t had been able to focus on this case until Monday morning,” he said.

Mr Hill is a primary producer of honey. He sells the honey from his hives to wholesalers such as Capilano. He also handcrafts the hive boxes.

“I’ve spent countless hours making all the equipment,” he said.

“Everyone’s been helpful and shared my post on social media, but I want the bloke who got the hives to come forward and give them back, because a lot of time and effort went into them.”

As of Sunday evening, the Euroa bushfire — at Balmattum Hill — had destroyed 350 ha of land, but no reports of property or animal losses had been made.

At the height of the Balmattum Hill blaze, six fire bombing aircraft and about 50 CFA trucks were involved battling the fire, which ripped through 350 ha of bushland and temporarily closed the Hume Fwy.

CFA incident controller Tim Holland said the quick actions of the CFA meant there were no losses of structures, assets or animals.