A PIGEON thief has been caged for six months after stealing 13 racing pigeons worth more than £17,000.
However, Dean Wells was likely to be freed almost immediately, as he has already served more than four months on remand in a young offenders’ institution.
Wells appeared from custody at Elgin Sheriff Court on Thursday, having previously admitted stealing the 13 birds from a house in Elgin on January 1 this year.
The 19-year-old was found with 11 of the birds in an orange recycling box. The other two birds were dead.
Wells admitted two other charges of being found in gardens, which also had pigeon lofts, with intent to steal.
Police officers were called to the scene, and as they led Wells away, he shouted: "I can’t go because my pigeons are in a box nearby, and they need looking after."
Given his previous convictions, however, he had been remanded in custody since January 2. His six-month jail term was backdated to that date.
Last December, Wells was sentenced to 180 hours of unpaid work in the community and a 12-month supervision order at Inverness Sheriff Court after he admitted stealing homing pigeons in the Highland capital.
And he was electronically tagged for six months at Elgin Sheriff Court earlier in 2011 after stealing five budgies from two homes in Elgin. Wells’ solicitor at the time said the teenager had a "fixation with small creatures".
The teenager was also previously convicted of stealing a guinea pig from a house in Elgin in October, 2010.
For more on this case see 'The Northern Scot'.