A beekeeper from Perthshire has gone on trial accused of administering banned drugs to honey bees.
Royal apiarist Murray McGregor, who has produced honey for Prince Charles, faces a series of charges relating to the importing and storing of unauthorised medicinal products.
McGregor, the owner of Denrosa Apiaries in Blairgowrie, is alleged to have “administered unauthorised veterinary medicinal products” to an animal, namely the honey bee.
The case – believed to be the first of its kind in the UK – called at Perth Sheriff Court on Tuesday and was continued without plea until next month.
McGregor, 61, of Blairgowrie, Perthshire, faces a total of seven charges relating to breaches of the Finance Act 1973, the European Communities Act 1972 and the Veterinary Medicines Regulations 2008.
It is alleged that he imported the unauthorised medicinal product, Terramycin 100MR, between July 2009 and October 2010 and another product, known as Checkmite+, between May 2011 and September 2014.
It is further alleged that between the first set of dates he administered the Terramycin 100MR to an animal, namely honey bee, in contravention of the relevant regulations.
McGregor is alleged to have administered Checkmite+ to bees during the latter time period, and he faces charges relating to possession of both medicines.
A further charge alleges that on October 10, 2013, he failed to comply with an improvement notice which had been issued requiring him to remove all traces of oxytetracycline from his bee hives within 14 days.
It is alleged the substance was subsequently found in the hives during a sampling exercise.
McGregor, who was not present in court when the case called for the first time on Tuesday, has produced honey for Prince Charles’ Duchy Estate in the past.
In 2009, a bee farm he owned in the Lothians was targeted by thieves and 11 hives containing up to 500,000 bees were stolen.
The bees, which were being farmed under the Denrosa banner, were due to be transferred to the Balmoral Estate to produce the royal Honey.