Page last updated at 11:24 GMT, Thursday, 19 November 2009

South African 'thief' stuffed chicken with gold

Roast chicken generic picture
Sage and onion is a more usual stuffing

A South African jewellery firm says it has foiled a bizarre attempt by one of its staff to steal gold by stuffing a cooked chicken with the precious metal.

The illicit stuffing was apparently uncovered when the worker went through metal detectors at Browns Jewellers offices in Johannesburg.

A suspect has been arrested and charged with attempted theft.

The firm recently tightened security and reportedly banned female workers from wearing underwire bras.

The employee was allegedly caught with the gold-filled bird at the firm's office in Dunkeld, Johannesburg, on Monday.

Metal detectors flagged up the precious cargo as the worker tried to make his way out of the building.

The underwire bra ban was to stop women using them to confuse metal detectors.

'Dubious dealers'

The man appeared at Hillbrow Magistrate's court on Tuesday charged with attempted theft and the possession of suspected stolen goods.

Police spokesman Thandi Mkhize told the BBC the man is still in police custody and will appear in court again on 8 December.

The company's boss Larry Brown says he has been trying his best to stop illegal traders from buying stolen goods.

"The very nature of the jewellery industry makes it a target for criminals," he said.

"Part of our procedures are to routinely visit dubious dealers who trade in fine metals, diamonds and gold.

"These dealers are known to buy stolen jewellery, often at enormous cost to lives."

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