Criminal mastermind David Carlile kidnapped a talking African Grey parrot he encountered during an uninivited visit to a remote country house because he thought it would grass him up to the Old Bill, UK tabloid the Sun reports.
The 32-year-old blagger took antiques, jewellery and wonga from the house belonging to Diana Winter in Eastbury, Berkshire, then grabbed would-be canary Monty for good measure. When he eventually had his collar felt, Carlile admitted: "Parrots can talk and I didn't want it grassing me up."
A suitably-impressed police source noted: "We were in stitches. This guy really thought we could interview the parrot. It's just as well we nicked him through fingerprints and DNA — I wouldn't have liked to have introduced the parrot to a judge as our chief prosecution witness."
Sadly, although Carlile is currently "doing some bird" - seven years to be exact after admitting more than 100 burglaries - Monty's whereabouts are unknown since Carlile offloaded the poor creature before his arrest.
Monty's owner lamented: "Monty's like a child and needs care. I'm not worried about the goods that were taken. I just want to see him again." Accordingly, Reg readers are asked to be on the lookout for a seven-year-old African Grey with "red feathers in his tail and a blue plastic ring on his foot" who "eats only white grapes".
It's also entirely possible his vocabulary might now include the phrase: "Come here you little bugger - there ain't no way I'm doing porridge on account of a bleedin' talkin' parrot." ®