British tourists fined for stealing penguin from Australia Sea World

British tourists fined for stealing penguin from Australia Sea WorldGetty

Two British tourists who stole a penguin from Australia Sea World after a drunken beach party have been fined $1,000 Australian dollars (£637).

Rhys Owen Jones, 21, and Keri Mules, 20, pleaded guilty to trespassing, stealing and keeping a protected animal in front of magistrates in Brisbane this week, according to the Mirror.

Jones, a former British Royal Marine, and Mules, a bricklayer, were in Australia on a working holiday visa when they broke into the the theme park on Queensland's Gold Coast and stripped off to go swimming with dolphins, let off a fire extinguisher in the shark enclosure, and stole a fairy penguin called Dirk from the aquarium.

The pair snuck into the park with an 18-year-old Australian called James Vasilj after drinking 1.5 litres of vodka between them at a beach party.

The two Brits woke up the next morning with the flightless bird in their apartment. Their lawyer Bill Potts told Southport Magistrates' court that the pair meant no harm to the bird, and attempted to feed it and put it in the shower when they woke up with hangovers the next day.

Mr Potts told magistrate Brian Kucks that the boys' actions were "immature and stupid" but that no malice was involved.

The tourists released Dirk, seven, into a canal where he was later spotted by a member of the public and returned to Sea World and his mate Peaches.

Mr Kucks also heard how the pair had written a letter of apology to Sea World, and he agreed to an appeal not to record convictions against them, and them $1,000 each.

According to the BBC, he told the men: "You could have found yourselves in a morgue if you'd gone into the wrong enclosure.

"Perhaps next time you are at a party you will consider drinking a little less vodka."

After their arrest last month, Jones said they were "very sorry" and described the escapade as a "prank which went way too far".

He added: "We are all three of us sorry to Sea World for the time lost in them searching for Dirk and we're glad he's all right."

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