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Last Updated: Friday, 14 March 2008, 02:28 GMT
Bear convicted for theft of honey
By Paddy Clark
BBC News

Honey bees
Temptation was too great for the bear
The taste of honey was just too tempting for a bear in Macedonia, which repeatedly raided a beekeeper's hives.

Now it has a criminal record after a court found it guilty of theft and criminal damage.

But there was an empty dock in the court in the city of Bitola and no handcuffed bear, which was convicted in its absence.

The case was brought by the exasperated beekeeper after a year of trying vainly to protect his beehives.

For a while, he kept the animal away by buying a generator, lighting up the area, and playing thumping Serbian turbo-folk music.

But when the generator ran out of power and the music fell silent, the bear was back and the honey was gone once more.

"It attacked the beehives again," said beekeeper Zoran Kiseloski.

Because the animal had no owner and belonged to a protected species, the court ordered the state to pay for the damage to the hives - around $3,500 (1,750; 2,238 euros).

The bear, meanwhile, remains at large - somewhere in Macedonia.





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