Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Pigeon Has His Wings Clipped; SERIAL THIEF IS LOCKED UP FOR LATEST RAIDS

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Pigeon Has His Wings Clipped; SERIAL THIEF IS LOCKED UP FOR LATEST RAIDS

Article excerpt

Byline: By ADAM JUPP Chief Reporter

HE'S been dubbed Tyneside's most prolific shop thief.

But Billy the Pigeon has now been jailed and banned from the city he has plagued.

The serial pest, real name William Armstrong, has racked up more than 200 convictions in a 12-year criminal career.

The 36-year-old has swiped anything he could get his hands on, even robbing a churchgoer as she prayed.

But the streets of Newcastle are now rid of the pest after he was locked up for 19 weeks for his two latest raids.

And police swooped to secure a two-year Anti Social Behaviour Order against Armstong, of Sceptre Place, Newcastle, which bans him from the city centre.

Neighbourhood police Sgt Paul Hamilton said: "Armstrong is a menace who we've arrested countless times over the years.

"He thinks nothing of engaging people in conversation and stealing from them when they're distracted. He's a con man who has even preyed on the elderly.

"He's leant over shop counters when shop staff have been distracted and stolen takings. He'll stop at nothing and we've been taking action against him for a number of years."

Armstrong's criminal CV dates back to 1996 and since then, he has been in and out of jail for theft. He has committed more than 220 crimes, 167 of which have been theft.

Dubbed Billy the Pigeon in Tyneside's underworld, it was rumoured he earned his moniker because he is a crook who feeds off scraps. But in court Armstrong said that he is actually named after his father, who was also called William and kept pigeons.

Billy Jnr took on the nickname himself and made it infamous through his 12-year crime spree.

His latest two offences were caught on CCTV cameras and images released to the Chronicle show how he nabbed his swag.

Armstrong went to the Finlay's newsagent, on Grey Street, and tried to distract a member of staff with a newspaper, pointing at some batteries. …

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