Pet theft probe reveals man stuffing snakes in bag

The man was caught on CCTV smuggling snakes into a rucksack. Picture: Contributed
The man was caught on CCTV smuggling snakes into a rucksack. Picture: Contributed
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Detectives probing the theft of numerous exotic pets including a bearded dragon and tarantula from a pet shop found CCTV footage of a man with several snakes stuffed in a rucksack.

Green-haired animal collector Scott Goodison, 20, was seen sneaking out of Perth Pet Centre after helping himself to three corn snakes.

A major police probe was launched in February this year after it emerged that the store had been robbed and several exotic animals had been taken.

Police Scotland appealed to the public to be on the lookout for the missing animals which included potentially harmful creatures such as tarantula spiders and bearded dragon lizards.

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At Perth’s Justice of the Peace court, Goodison, St Catherine’s Road, Perth, admitted stealing three corn snakes from Perth Pet Centre on 18 February this year.

He was charged with stealing a quantity of reptiles, a spider, electrical equipment and a quantity of money but the Crown accepted a reduced plea to the snakes only.

The court was told that Goodison - who stays in a flat close to the pet shop premises - had a number of “issues” and sentence was deferred for reports.

The police issued a public appeal for help over fears that the animals could suffer or die if they were not being looked after properly by the thief.

It is understood that the snakes were recovered from Goodison’s home and had not suffered any ill-effect from being moved from the pet store.

The corn snakes can grow to around four feet in length and can be aggressive and bite if they have not been tamed, although they are not venomous.

The bearded dragon - which originates from Australia’s desert regions - can grow to around two feet in length but is not likely to pose a danger as it most often “freezes” when it feels under threat.

The Chilean Copper Tarantula which was taken during the raid may be capable of biting, but is not poisonous and at worst would cause mild swelling to a human.

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A force spokesman said at the time: “Thieves made off with a bearded dragon, three corn snakes, a copper tarantula, an Exo terra heat lamp, a metal heat lamp and small three figure sum of cash.”

Footage from a CCTV camera in the area showed Goodison carrying a rucksack as he emerged from the shop when it was closed and supposed to be unoccupied.

Officers identified him from the images and when they arrived at his home to quiz him, he was found to have the three snakes in tanks - among numerous other creatures he was keeping.

Shop owner David Scobbie said: “The snakes and spider are all in good condition but Edgar the beardie was very cold and doesn’t appear to have been looked after properly.

“However the main thing is they are alive and back where they can be looked after.

“Unfortunately our money wasn’t recovered and only some of our other stolen property was found by the police, but the main thing is the safety of the animals and they are safe.”

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