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Last Updated: Thursday March 29 2007 13:26 GMT

Man jailed for stealing SpongeBob

SpongeBob the monkey

A man has been sent to jail for a year for stealing SpongeBob the Bolivian squirrel monkey from a zoo.

Marlon Brown, 23, was found guilty of taking SpongeBob from Chessington World of Adventures in Surrey in July 2006.

He had denied the theft but traces of his blood were found in the enclosure after the other monkeys attacked him as they tried to protect SpongeBob.

Judge Richard Haworth told Brown at Kingston Crown Court: "It was a cruel offence. It was an act of devilry."

SpongeBob, who now lives at Battersea Zoo, was said to be delighted with the decision and celebrated with a meal of worms.

A monkey
Two days after he was stolen last July, SpongeBob was spotted playing with children on a housing estate in Brixton, south London, near where Brown's home.

He was returned to Chessington but had to move to Battersea when the female monkeys he used to share with turned against him, biting and screaming whenever he went near.

In his latest entry on his online diary, SpongeBob said it was "kinda cool" to be in all the papers again but he was still having problems with the girls at his new home so is living in a separate enclosure.

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