Cash from the Scottish Government will help support beekeepers after the industry was hit by "some of the worst snow in living memory" last year, the Environment Secretary said.

Richard Lochhead announced £200,000 has been paid out to 10 beekeepers across the country.

The money is aimed at helping them restructure their businesses after the prolonged winter weather in 2013 resulted in 4,000 colonies of bees being lost.

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Mr Lochhead said: "Scotland was hit with some of the worst snow in living memory during last year, with some farmers seeing their entire colonies virtually wiped out.

"Bees not only produce honey and other products but also act as pollinators for many crops and wild plants; this is why I felt it imperative to help bee farmers.

"This £200,000 aid package was vital in this process and proved to be an incredibly popular scheme, and I'm delighted that we have been able to provide support for beekeepers to restructure their businesses and rebuild their colonies."

John Mellis, Scottish board member of the Bee Farmers Association of the UK, said they were "extremely grateful for the support which the Scottish Government has provided".

He said: "Without it some of our colleagues would most probably not have been able to stay in business and for the rest, the knowledge that assistance would be forthcoming meant it was possible to actively start rebuilding.

"Good progress has been made in restoring colony levels and the £200,000 in support has helped us to restructure and rebuild the businesses to ensure we have strong foundations moving forward."