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hilaire-purbrick-beekeeperA bee-keeper living in a cave in Sussex, UK, has been ordered to leave by his local council on the grounds he does not have a fire exit.

In a case of Health-and-Safety-gone-mad, Hilaire Purbrick (pictured), 45, has been told he must leave the seven-foot cave in Whitehawk Hill  he has inhabited for the past 16 years. Mr. Purbrick’s troubles started when he first came to national attention in 2003 after he calmed a swarm of angry bees using a feathery sex toy. His selfless act led the council to focus on his unconventional lifestyle.

He and four neighbours have lived and dined off the land with no ill effects, but after having the dwelling checked by the fire brigade, Brighton and Hove City Council decided it did not have enough exits and sought an injunction banning him from entering it. A temporary injunction prevents him from making the repairs neccessary to satisfy the council.

Mr Purbrick ignored the order and continued to live in the cave, but was pulled back into court on Tuesday when a judge granted the council a possession order which will allow him to be formally evicted and banned indefinitely from the site.

Mr Purbrick now plans to take his fight to the European Court of Human Rights, claiming his right to a private life and freedom has been breached by the order.

“I am still living there and intend to continue to do so,” he said. “I know lots of people in this town who live in houses with only one door with no fire exit.”

The keen gardener has a history of overcoming legal challenges to his earthy home. In 1999, town hall authorities threatened to remove him, claiming he was running an illegal vegetable shop.

But Mr Purbick won a reprieve after claiming his site “was hardly a Sainsbury’s” and he only had one customer – a pregnant woman who bought his sprouts.

The following year he successfully fought an eviction order after complaints he was keeping chickens and bees without permission.

Granting the possession order at Brighton County Court, Judge Jonathan Simpkiss said there were legitimate health and safety concerns that the cave could collapse.

“The council considers this was a danger to life. They have a responsibility to the public,” he said.

Mr Purbrick’s decision to appeal to the European courts was made after the judge refused leave to appeal in a UK court, saying it was a “hopeless cause of trying to resist the inevitable”.

The whole saga goes back six years when Mr Purbrick, a bee-keeper, was called in to trap a swarm causing chaos.  He forgot the most important tool of his trade, his bee brush – and used a feathery sex toy instead.

Thousands of bees had descended on George Street in Brighton, causing a man to flee his home as they began to build a nest in his porch.

Passers-by had gathered to watch the drama when Mr Purbrick, called in to trap the roaming Queen, realised he had left behind his ostrich feather bee brush.

The nearest suitable replacement was an exotic “tickler”, borrowed from a neighbouring fetish shop.Luckily the ploy had the desired effect and the bees  flew off, surrounding a pushbike chained to nearby railings.

A second attempt to cage the Queen also failed when the trap tumbled off the handlebars and the swarm spiralled off into the sky.

After watching the bees take to the air, Mr Purbrick said: “Swarms like this are fairly common in summer although this year they have been later than usual because it’s been so wet and cold.

“Now I expect it will be fast and furious for a while. I am hoping to catch them all and then I’ll have a ready-made colony.”

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7 Responses to “Let him bee!”

  1. Jeff

    I think it sucks that the Governments of the world have taken so much freedom from the people of their respective countries. I should be able to live how I choose as long as it doesn’t harm another person. They should have no say in my chosen dwelling, they should have no say in what I do to fund my life, they should have no say in how I get my resources as long as it doesn’t infringe on anothers god given rights. Every day I am exposed to modern society the more I dislike my fellow man. If they can’t make a dollar off of you somehow, then thy are going to hassle and try to force you into their screwed up rat race. The US is getting worse by the day too, thenks Nobama, take away more rights, I see what your administration is trying to do to our people.

    Governments need to learn to mind their own damned business when it comes to basic human rights.

    Reply
  2. Steve

    Was government around in cave man days? Let him live free… Live free or die! On every Lic. Plate in New Hampshire U.S! Hit them over the head with your rock bat!
    Is he really bothering your daily life? Bees are everywhere.. bee.. lol .. thankful you know where the bees are! Do you know where all the harmful snakes are right now! Man lives in a cave… doesnt have much and the gov still wants to be there…
    He lives in a cave! I want to live in my dream bus.. that i am building.. Its my bus.. its his cave… its your house… you all better get rear doors!
    CAVEMAN NEEDS A JACKHAMMER!

    Reply
  3. Leonie,Spain.

    Brighton and Hove council have commited a crime against nature and hope with this aggresive and destructive eviction.I can’t think of anything worse than living in their stagnant,hopeless mindset-what a sad small reality to inhabit,unlike Hilaire’s relentless positivity and fresh, fluid and healthy outlook,as large as the universe itself!Bless you Hilaire and long live bees!

    Reply
  4. Roger

    TJ – the word “satirical” clearly isn’t in the Oregon vocabulary. I think Hilaire is the victim of bureaucracy of the most stupid kind and his self sufficient and self reliant lifestyle should be ENcouraged rather than DIScouraged.

    Reply
  5. TJ

    Hilaire has every right to live as he likes and this kind of crap would be permitted in the states…Come to the USA good sir…Like everything else, Britains’ loss is the US’ gain!!! Self Righteous British Courts… Oregon would welcome you!!! DOnt listen to Roger…He is a sheep..Which are good to EAT.

    Reply
  6. Roger

    I say the council are right to evict this man. He keeps dangerous stinging insects and wild pecking birds. His home as well as not having statutorily required number of exits, probably doesn’t have proper insulation nor mains services and in no way conforms to current building regs..

    Hopefully he will be re-educated and permitted to live in normal society and occupy a box in a block, sorry, I meant flat, and purchase properly triple wrapped food in Tesburys and watch Eastemmer Street 15 times a week.

    We must make sure that such people do not contaminate the rest of society with their individuality, resourcefulness, self sufficiency, skills, self reliance, independence and energy saving.

    Let’s hope Hilaire finds European Courts more understanding and sensible.

    Reply
  7. Wretha

    It’s sad that the nanny.gov is doing this to him, he has every right to live the way he wants to live, especially if it is not endangering anyone else.

    No good deed shall go unpunished… how true that can be, at least when it comes to those nosy “do-gooders”.

    I wish him well.

    Reply

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