A notorious north-east pigeon raider who was previously caught smuggling prized racing birds up his jumper has struck again.
In August Dean Wells, 23, was jailed for six months for carrying out an 18-month crime wave.
During this time he stole a total of 31 pigeons, worth thousands of pounds, from the lofts of two Elgin brothers.
And this morning the serial bird thief, who has targeted keepers in Inverness, Moray, Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire appeared back in the dock and admitted stealing another 24 prize pigeons.
Wells took the birds from racing enthusiast George Howie’s loft overnight between April 26 and 27 this year.
They had just returned to his home in Auchmill Road, Aberdeen, after their first race of the season when he struck.
Wells took the birds and a wicker basket and returned home to Elgin where he was later caught by police.
Among the birds stolen were white grizzles and white pieds. Some were used in sprint races and others for long distance.
Speaking at the time of the theft Mr Howie added: “The birds are my life, it keeps me going. It keeps me young.”
Sentence was deferred until next month for background reports to be carried out.
In 2012 Wells was sentenced to six months detention after he admitted stealing racing pigeons worth £17,000.
This offence was carried out only months after he was caught smuggling his uncle’s budgies in his pockets.
Elgin Sheriff Court previously heard that Wells was found on one occasion trying to catch some of the budgies in an aviary.
He claimed he was only looking at the birds, but when officers arrived a short while later, he admitted having two in his pocket.
Wells, who had broken the clasp of the aviary door in the process of entering, said they belonged to him, but they were later identified as the homeowner’s.
The court previously heard that Wells has a “fixation” for little creatures.
During mitigation for one of his earlier offences solicitor Brent Lockie said: “I have hold him no matter how much he loves birds he can’t go about stealing other people’s.”