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Men charged over penguin 'prank'

Two Welsh men have been charged in Australia with stealing a fairy penguin called Dirk.

The pair, aged 20 and 21, allegedly got into Sea World on Queensland's Gold Coast and removed the flightless bird, which has reportedly never lived in the wild.

The duo, and a teenager, were charged with trespass, stealing and keeping a protected animal.

The BBC quoted one of the men, Rhys Jones, as saying: "Still a bit fuzzy about the whole thing but on behalf of the three of us we are very sorry and it was just 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."

Dirk, aged seven, was eventually found in water near the park, according to reports, and was reunited with his girlfriend Peaches.

A spokeswoman for Queensland police said: "Three men have been charged after allegedly stealing a penguin from a Gold Coast aquarium. Police believe the men allegedly gained access to the enclosure at a Main Beach address overnight.

"Information from a member of the public led police to an Aqua Street, Southport, address where they took the men into custody.

"All three men, an 18-year-old, 20-year-old and 21-year-old, have been charged with one count each of trespass, stealing and unlawfully keeping a protected animal, an offence under the Nature Conservation Act."

The trio will appear before Southport magistrates on May 2.

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