A giant totem pole from a 1978 British sci-fi film is heading for auction 40 years later - after adventures a top screenwriter would struggle to imagine.

Jill Gallone of Hansons with the 10ft totem pole, which was once the home of a colony of bees. Picture: HansonsJill Gallone of Hansons with the 10ft totem pole, which was once the home of a colony of bees. Picture: Hansons

The pole, which stands 10ft tall, was rescued by retired Chulmleigh beekeeper Jim Slade 12 years ago after he was called out to deal with some angry insects at Wembworthy.

The pole’s bizarre story began with its debut in the 1978 film Warlords of Atlantis.

It’s now due to be sold in a Music and Film Memorabilia Auction at Derbyshire’s Hansons Auctioneers on October 23 with an estimate of £1,500 to £2,000.

Mr Slade, 74, said: “I had a request from an elderly gentleman who had troublesome bees in his totem pole. They were living inside the pole and stinging him as well as some of his neighbours.

Chulmleigh beekeeper Jim Slade came to the rescue of relieved Wembworthy residents when he took the buzzing totem pole away. Picture: HansonsChulmleigh beekeeper Jim Slade came to the rescue of relieved Wembworthy residents when he took the buzzing totem pole away. Picture: Hansons

“The gentleman, who was in his 80s at the time and told me he used to work at film studios, kept the totem pole next to his garage in Wembworthy. But when people walked past they were getting stung.

“He’d been blocking up holes used by the bees to try to stop the problem and this made them angry. I told them I could take the bees away or kill them - but being a beekeeper, I didn’t want to kill them.

“In the end, he told me to take the totem pole away with the bees inside. So, I wrapped it in a black bin liner, laid it down and did just that. He was relieved to see the back of it as he’d had complaints from neighbours.

“I took it home and put it in my orchard. Honey bees normally live in holes in trees so I can understand why they used the pole. Eventually they moved on as part of nature’s cycle and then I blocked up the holes to stop it happening it again. The bees originally got in through nose holes on the totem pole’s face.

The pole goes under the hammer this month after sitting in Jim Slade's orchard for 12 years. Picture: HansonsThe pole goes under the hammer this month after sitting in Jim Slade's orchard for 12 years. Picture: Hansons

“I’ve decided to sell it because it’s become a bit of an attraction. People riding by stop to look at it. None of my children want it and it’s too big for my front room, so I decided it was time to say goodbye.”

Jim Spencer, valuer at Hansons, said: “This eye-catching 10ft totem pole, made out of fibreglass, is an original prop from Warlords of Atlantis, the 1978 British science fiction and fantasy film about a trip to the lost world of Atlantis, directed by Kevin Connor. For any lover of sci-fi movies it’s an extraordinary thing to own.

“When I heard about how Mr Slade came to obtain it, it did make me smile. Let’s hope potential buyers will be buzzing around it like bees round a honeypot.”

Jill Gallone of Hansons with the 10ft totem pole, which was once the home of a colony of bees. Picture: HansonsJill Gallone of Hansons with the 10ft totem pole, which was once the home of a colony of bees. Picture: Hansons