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Britons fined in Australia for stealing penguin

Australia,Crime/Disaster/Accident, Thu, 03 May 2012 IANS

Melbourne, May 3 (IANS) Two British tourists have been fined $1,000 each by a court for becoming drunk and stealing a penguin from a marine park in Australia.


A third tourist was charged with illegally entering the penguin enclosure but his hearing is scheduled for June.


The three friends -- former Royal Marine Rhys Owen Jones, 21, Keri Mules, 20, and James Vasilj, 18 -- were arrested after they broke into the Sea World on Queensland's Gold Coast, after drinking 1.5 liters of vodka.


They swam in a pool with dolphins, set off a fire extinguisher in a pool with sharks, and then entered the cage for marine birds and animals and stole a seven-year-old penguin-elf named Dirk, RIA Novosti reported citing the Australian Associated Press.


Jones and Mules were found guilty of trespassing, stealing and holding a protected animal, the department of justice said.


Police said the men took the penguin to a hotel. After they woke up and found the penguin, they tried to care for it by feeding it bread and placed it in the shower.


"They tried their incompetent best to care for the penguin," AAP quoted their lawyer as saying.


The penguin was later rescued and returned to Sea World.


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