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Friday, 23 August, 2002, 13:47 GMT 14:47 UK
Lions made to eat ice cream
Lion
Zoo staff say Scott Donlan was lucky to escape injury
A teenager who broke into a zoo while drunk and tried to feed two lions with stolen ice creams has been fined by magistrates.

Scott Donlan, 19, climbed into the big cat enclosure at Newquay Zoo in Cornwall with two friends after a night out.

Bodmin magistrates heard how Donlan had been on a 12 pint drinking binge before the trio broke into the zoo and raided the ice cream stalls.

Magistrates fined Donlan 350 and ordered him to carry out 60 hours of community service.


It was a stupid offence and he has already lost his job as a result

Paul Burley, defending

Donlan admitted burglary when he appeared before magistrates on Thursday.

Keepers found melted Cornettos pushed through the mesh round the enclosure where the two lions, Ronnie, aged 15, and his mate Connie, aged six, lived.

The lions had been woken by the intruders.

Donlan, a groundsman, who lives at Cheviot Road in Newquay, had pushed ice creams - including Lion bars and Cornettos - through the fence.

Michael Thompson, prosecuting, said Donlan was the only one of the three intruders who had been traced and brought to court.

He said: "Police were called when a member of the public saw three men pushing a wheelbarrow at 0355 BST.

"They found that kiosks and children's rides had been broken into and a large amount of ice cream to the value of about 1,000 had been stolen."


It seems these drunken idiots broke into the ice cream kiosks and then wondered whether lions eat ice cream

John Meek, Newquay Zoo

He said Donlan was caught because he went to work the next day with cuts on his face.

Colleagues became suspicious after he made remarks about the break-in.

Police later recovered a large amount of ice cream in carrier bags at his home.

Paul Burley, defending, said: "This is a ridiculous offence fuelled entirely by alcohol.

"This was not a professional offence.

"It was a stupid offence and he has already lost his job as a result."

"Very stupid"

Zoo staff said Donlan and his friends were lucky not to have lost their fingers in the prank - and would have been mauled if the trio had climbed into the inner part of the enclosure.

After the case, John Meek, general manager at Newquay Zoo, said: "It seems these drunken idiots broke into the ice cream kiosks and then wondered whether lions eat ice cream.

"It was a very stupid thing to do.

"If he had gone one step further and climbed in with the lions he would not have come out again."



See also:

22 Feb 01 | N Ireland
15 Oct 99 | Africa
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