A heating engineer was confronted by a swarm of 15,000 bees when he opened up the boiler in the kitchen of an engineering firm in Littleport, Cambridgeshire.

Colin Burbridge, co-owner of M8trix Precision Engineering, called in an engineer after his five-month old boiler stopped working. Mr Burbridge and the engineer were shocked to find a beehive when they took off the front of the boiler.

Mr Burbridge quickly called local beekeepers Stuart and Carol Palmer who arrived to safely remove the colony from the boiler which is now "covered in sticky honey".

It is believed the bees got in through a vent at the back of the boiler.

Carol Palmer who removed the hive had only just passed a course with the Cambridgeshire Beekeepers Association last week. Ms Palmer said: “I asked for a bit of advice from more experienced beekeepers.They advised that we cut out the comb from inside the boiler and encourage the bees to move away.

“Fortunately, we were able to attract the vast majority into a nucleus box and they are now sitting happily in our garden waiting to be transferred to their new hive."