A serial pigeon thief has been banned from entering a north-east town.
Dean Wells appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court to be sentenced in connection with stealing a racing pigeon from a loft at an address on Muirfield Road in Elgin on August 4, the latest in a string of thefts of the birds.
And now the 28-year-old has been handed unpaid work, supervision and been told to stay out of Elgin for a year.
Wells appeared in court via a videolink from HMP Grampian where he was remanded over the matter.
Defence solicitor Stephen Carty described the pigeon as a “rather unusual thing to have stolen”, but added: “Many of his previous convictions are thefts of pigeons.”
He added Wells had issued with drug use.
Wells had admitted stealing the pigeon, as well as stealing a bicycle from a different address on the same street, and a domestically aggravated charge of behaving in a threatening or abusive manner.
Sheriff Ian Wallace imposed an 18-month supervision order and 120 hours of unpaid work.
He also imposed a conduct requirement ordering Wells, of Keith Gardens, Crimond, not to enter Elgin for 12 months.
Fiscal depute Susan Love previously told the court: “At 2.30am two witnesses were in their property on Muirfield Road in Elgin. At that time they heard a noise outside.
“They looked outside the window and saw the accused.”
The court heard the witnesses heard a “distinctive squeaking” sound from a gate or door and formed the view someone had stolen a bike from their rear garden.
Ms Love said: “Both went downstairs and observed the accused cycling away from the property.
“They decided to head out in an attempt to catch the accused and retrieve the bike.”
When the pair went outside they found Wells “lying on the ground in an attempt to hide himself” and were able to retrieve the bike.
Wells told the witnesses he was “borrowing” the bike but they took photos of him and contacted police.
At 1.30pm the same day officers called at another address on the street regarding the earlier incident.
Ms Love said: “The witness proceeded to check his pigeon loft and found one of his 17 pigeons missing.
“He also observed damage to the front door of the loft where he believed a person gained access.”
A blue, wooden garden chair was also found propped up against a fence, which was thought to be how Wells gained access.
Wells, giving his own plea in mitigation at a previous hearing, told the court: “I’d just like to take this opportunity to apologise.
“The theft of the pigeon, that was just a big mistake.
“I’ve got an addiction, and my addiction is to valium and opium.
“For the bike I was out my face.
“My life has never been so good since I left Elgin. I left to get away from all that trouble.
“This is just a blip in my recovery.”