A thief was arrested following a painful sting operation by a swarm of wasps – after he relieved himself on their nest.
Leeds Magistrates’ heard that Jamie Brown, 29, stole a £200 fish tank from The Range furniture store in Hunslet on Saturday night.
But he was caught by police who saw him crying in pain after he was attacked when he cut short his escape to answer a call of nature in a bush.
Lorraine Harris, prosecuting, said: “Police saw the defendant running towards them. He was sweating heavily and rubbing his head.
“He said he was running home and had been attacked by wasps. A witness said she saw him wearing gloves, which they later found with the fish tank.
“He had gone into the bushes to relieve himself.
“Due to the number of wasps in the nest he was taken to hospital.”
Brown spent six hours in agony at Leeds General Infirmary, before being discharged.
The court heard the defendant, who has a drug problem, initially claimed he was in the area visiting an aunt, but glove marks and a footprint proved he had stolen the tank.
He pleaded guilty to a charge of theft which the court heard breached a suspended sentence for a previous theft and a ban from entering the homeware store.
Brown, who has a number of previous convictions for theft, was jailed for 24 weeks.
Deputy district judge Andrew Pascoe said: “I hope that you use that time usefully in regards to your drug problem.”
There was little sympathy from internet users when news of Brown’s arrest was initially posted on the Leeds inner south neighbourhood policing team’s Facebook page.
The team wrote: “A male has been arrested after breaking into business premises in Hunslet. The male however is currently in hospital after making the unfortunate decision to hide from the police in a bush and thus disturbing a wasps’ nest.”
The post was ‘liked’ by more than 1,700 people and attracted nearly 200 comments.
One user joked that the burglar must have been “buzzing” after the incident.
Another said: “So wasps do have a purpose after all!”
Another wrote: “Love a bit of karma!”
In a later update on its Facebook page, the NPT told followers: “You will be pleased to know his swellings have gone down.”