Belarusian police expel illegal beekeepers from Chernobyl zone

Belarusian law enforcers have found two people who were keeping bees and bears in the 30-kilometer exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear station.

Russian news agency Interfax quoted the Belarus Interior Ministry as saying on Friday that two people squatted on a plot of land near the village of Podluzhie. The people kept a small farm with beehives and two bears locked in a room. Apart from farming, the felons were hunting wild animals.

The people were charged with an administrative offence (which usually implies a fine), the ministry said, and expelled from the exclusion zone.

The 30-kilometer zone around the Chernobyl power plant was established soon after the reactor disaster in 1986. Settlement within the zone is prohibited for everyone apart from several thousand maintenance personnel. Still, a few hundred people choose to live in the zone illegally, getting by through farming, hunting and scavenging for scrap metal.