A parish councillor was rescued from a four foot swarm of bees.

The 20,000-strong swarm visited Aldenham Parish Councillor, Viv Charrett in her garden in Theobald Street, Radlett.

The bees landed on the grass, garden handrails, steps and filled the air, eventually settling on an apple tree in the middle of the lawn.

Mrs Charrett quickly telephoned the police who tried to locate a local bee-keeper without success. They then passed her onto Hertsmere Borough Council's environmental services department but that too proved a failure as the officers were unable to do anything outside office hours.

Determined to find the bees a new home, preferably away from her apple tree, Mrs Charrett contacted local residents Stuart and Maureen Thorne who keep bees.

Stuart and Maureen cut down a branch of the tree and put them in a wicker basket with their Queen. They left the basket upside down until the evening and eventually put a sheet around it and carried the bees to a their hive.

Councillor Charrett said: “It was an amazing experience to see the swarm and to see how it was dealt with. I am delighted that Stuart and Maureen were around at the time and dealt with the bees so calmly and professionally.”

Mr Thorne, who is still being taught the trade by the St Albans Bee Keeping Society, said: “It's a fascinating craft, it's like going back and learning a trade in the proper way. You can't get it from a book, you need someone with 30 or 40 years of experience to teach you.

Mr Thorne said a disease, which the Government is investing £200,000 a year into studying, could be the reason for the bees having left their hive to swarm to the garden.