VIDEO: Dramatic images show moment Norwich city centre was invaded by a swarm of bees

The Norwich city centre skyline was black with bees today as about 20,000 swarmed around Westlegate.

Shoppers and shopkeepers were alarmed by the sight of angry honey bees flying from greenery atop of metal plant supports found on the corner of St Stephens Street, St Stephens Plain.

A bee keeper was called at around 2.45pm to dispense with a nest, which earlier became angered and swooped towards the Marks and Spencer store and filled the street outside the Westlegate Tesco Express.

Westlegate Tesco Express staff member Emma Crosby, 31, said: 'I was putting the baskets away and a gentleman came in and said 'have you seen all the bees outside?' and when I looked there were thousands of them.

'They covered the road, it is really weird. You could see people running away and others getting their cameras out and taking pictures.'

Sarah Hunt, 43, from the Just Cards shop on Westlegate, said: 'My colleague shut the door because she was scared of the bees, they swarmed towards the crossing and then back, she was quite frightened.

'People were dodging around them, I do not know who we should report it to.'

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A bee keeper was called and dispensed of the cluster of bees, using a basket - known as a skep - and smoke.

Meanwhile tourists had stopped to take snaps of the unusual sight.

Artists Henry Jackson Newcomb and Rachel Kurdynowska were playing a game of chess in the shop directly in front of the swarm, where their pop-up art gallery is making use of a vacant premise until Saturday.

Mr Newcomb, who sent in these photos and video, said: 'It went on for half an hour, people were ducking and diving.

'We had a few come in the gallery. The whole sky was filled with them, like locusts, or something out of a cartoon.

'But you could stand in the middle of it, they weren't stinging.'

Advice available on the Norwich City Council website says while wasps are seen as pests, bees are not, and if the public want them removed they should contact a beekeeper.

It goes on to say 'honey bees can suddenly arrive as a large cloud and can be quite noisy. When settled, bees will may be seen flying to and from the cluster as they search for a new permanent home. If they are left alone they will normally move on within a couple of days or so.'

Patrick Laslett of the Norfolk Beekeepers Association said: 'I have picked up a swarm from the city centre in my time.

'They can get anywhere, and can fly quite a way away too. They most likely came from someone's beehive or out of a chimney.

'They will collect anywhere while they search for a new home, before they settle they are like locusts, all over the place.'

Do you have a story for the Evening News? Email newsdesk@archant.co.uk or call 01603 772 439.

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