THIEVES ransacked a Bradford apiary and stole valuable equipment and a charity box during an overnight raid.

Bradford Beekeepers Association estimates that the cost of making good repairs and replacing stoeln items will cost around £2,000.

The group had used some of a £9,713 grant from The Gannett Foundation, run by the parent company of the Telegraph & Argus, to buy a 50-inch television - which was one of the items stolen in the Thursday evening attack.

It was used to educate schoolchildren as part of a project the association is developing at its Knowles Park site where it has set-up a teaching.

Equipment including two hot water boilers, £110 in cash and a charity box was also taken in the raid.

Apiary manager, Ian Dwyer, said he was alerted to the devastation early yesterday morning.

Burglars broke the padlock off the gate and forced their way through steel shutters and a wood and steel door. Inside every cupboard and drawer was searched.

"There is stuff all over the place," Mr Dwyer said.

He estimates the value of the equipment and the cost of the damage to be around £2,000, but he is adamant the group will not be beaten.

"The frustrating thing is we are trying to do good throughout the whole of Bradford. People know honeybees are in trouble. We are here to promote them and tell people about them, to educate people and we are getting a schools pack together so all the children in Bradford now something about bees.

"This is a little setback but it will not stop us. We are even more determined," he said.

"It's frustrating more than anything when we are trying to do good in the community."

Perry Austin-Clarke, Editor of the Telegraph & Argus, said: “This is a despicable and selfish crime. These thieves have effectively robbed young children of a vital and important educational resource which helps future generations to develop a real understanding of the need to protect and grow our bee populations, which is crucially important for all of us.”

A police spokesman said enquiries were continuing and appealed for any witnesses to contact police on 101.