Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Pest Trapped by Poster; SERIAL THIEF CAUGHT AFTER HE ENTERS SHOP HE'S BANNED FROM

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Pest Trapped by Poster; SERIAL THIEF CAUGHT AFTER HE ENTERS SHOP HE'S BANNED FROM

Article excerpt

Byline: ADAM JUPP

THIS is the moment serial pest Billy the Pigeon was trapped by his own poster.

The 34-year-old - real name William Armstrong - has been dubbed Tyneside's most prolific thief because of his 12-year crooked career.

His persistent pilfering led to him being hit with an Asbo, banning him from Newcastle city centre for two years.

Posters of Armstrong were distributed around the city and pinned up in shops he has plagued.

And that meant that when he entered the One Stop News store, on the city's Grainger Street, staff immediately recognised him when he approached the till. CCTV footage taken from the shop shows Billy enter the shop and shows the worker with the poster featuring his face in front of her.

And as soon as she glanced up, she spotted him looking back at her and immediately rang police.

That led to Billy, of Sceptre Place, Elswick, being convicted of breaching his Asbo at Newcastle Magistrates' Court.

And police today urged the public to continue shopping him if they spot him in the city centre.

Neighbourhood Sgt Paul Hamilton said: "Billy is a prolific offender and serial pest in the city centre.

"His anti-social behaviour order means more and more people, particularly businesses, are well aware of who he is and ensure any sightings in the city centre are reported to police.

"He has caused misery for shoppers and traders over the years and his Asbo means he is banned from going into the city centre.

"On this occasion, he was spotted by a shop worker who recognised him as his Asbo poster was up behind the till.

"The fact he's been before the courts a number of times during the year for breaching his Asbo shows we're acting quickly to get him punished appropriately. "As a result, he's spent many months behind bars when he might otherwise have been out on the streets committing crime. …

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