SERIAL crook Carl Farrell got himself in a flap when he was pulled over by the police and a load of pigeons flew out of his jumper.
Police stopped the 28-year-old, who has 116 previous convictions, when they saw him riding a bike down Maritime Street, in Sunderland city centre, carrying an air rifle and some bolt cutters.
While officers questioned Farrell about what he was up to, the birds used his arrest to get their freedom.
At Newcastle Crown Court yesterday, prosecutor Stuart Michie said: “They stopped him and he said he was on his way to his mate’s house.
“It seems a number of pigeons had been stuck up his jumper and they started to fly off.”
Mr Michie told the court there is no further information as to where the birds came from or where they went when they flew off.
He added: “One hopes the pigeons found their way back to where they first came from.”
Farrell admitted possessing a loaded air weapon in a public place and going equipped.
He also pleaded guilty to thefts of meat and perfume from shops in Sunderland and stealing a bike from outside a chemist.
Judge Brian Forster said: “People carry interesting things inside their clothing.”
The judge jailed Farrell, who is already serving a 14-week prison sentence imposed by magistrates, for eight months.
Judge Forster told him: “You approach life in the way that everybody’s property is your own to take.
“Your life is really a tragedy.”
Warren Grier, defending, said Farrell, of Whitehead Street, South Shields, has lived a “chaotic lifestyle” after being brought up in care and most of his offending was linked to his drug habit.