Sainsbury’s in Epsom has placed a bee hotel on its roof to boost the dwindling solitary bee population.

Constructed from timber and recycled materials, the custom-designed hotel has been positioned among flowering plants which will provide rich supplies of pollen and nectar.

It is hoped bee numbers will increase and fly across the region, pollinating fruit, flowers and vegetables in thousands of gardens and allotments.

"Bee populations have been declining for some years," said Sainsbury’s environmental affairs manager Dr Jack Cunningham.

"The lack of suitable habitats is thought to be one reason, so this is a practical way to help."

Manager Richard Hay said the store in Kiln Lane was proud to be playing its part in tackling the issue.

It takes around 60,000 honey bees to pollinate a hectare of orchard, but the same outcome can be achieved with just 600 female solitary bees.