A BEDLINGTON man stole a pet rabbit named Fluffy to keep his guinea pig and rabbit company, a court has heard.
Matthew Ord, 32, of Waverley Avenue pleaded guilty to the theft of Fluffy at South East Northumberland Magistrates' Court.
The bench heard how the father of three had been walking home after consuming a quantity of alcohol when he spotted Fluffy's hutch in Lindsay Harris' garden in Rothesay Terrace.
Ms Harris first thought Fluffy had escaped but noticed that the hutch had been closed from the outside and contacted police to report him stolen.
During their enquiries police investigated a hutch in Ord's garden and inside was a white rabbit matching Fluffy's description.
When confronted Ord said he had found it the previous night and reported it to the police.
In a police interview he later admitted to theft and said he had put Fluffy inside his own rabbit hutch to keep his own pet rabbit and guinea pig company.
Ruth Castle, prosecuting, said: "Whilst the defendant does have previous convictions these are nothing to do with dishonesty."
Tim Barker representing the defendant said: "Mr Ord apologises through me for the distress caused"
Summing up, Lesley Rickerby, chairman of the bench said: "You are before us with a matter of theft of a pet rabbit.
"You did indeed take this rabbit intentionally and the matter is aggravated by the fact that you took the rabbit deliberately"
Ord was ordered to pay a 70 fine with a 15 administration fee.