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The Hangover in real life? Drunken tourists fined for stealing penguin

Two British tourists who stole a penguin from an Australian theme park after a drunken night out have been punished with a fine. TODAY.com's Dara Brown reports.

Two British tourists who broke into an Australian theme park and stole a penguin following a drunken night out have each been fined $1,030, according to reports.

Rhys Owen Jones, 21, and Keri Mules, 20, appeared before magistrates in Brisbane Wednesday and pleaded guilty to trespassing, stealing and keeping a protected animal, Australia’s Department of Justice said.

The two friends, from Wales, were arrested after breaking into Sea World on Queensland’s Gold Coast during an alcohol-fueled escapade on April 14.

They also swam with dolphins and let off a fire extinguisher in a shark enclosure, according to a BBC News report.

The pair were in the country on a working holiday visa when the incident took place.

They sneaked into the animal park along with Australian James Vasilj, 18, after drinking vodka at a beach party, according to a report on news website Wales Online.

They then snatched the fairy penguin, called Dirk, from an aquarium before waking up with the flightless bird in their apartment the following day, the report said.

The friends’ lawyer Bill Potts told Southport Magistrates’ Court that they meant no harm to the animal and tried to care for it by feeding it and putting it in the shower when they woke up with hangovers, a situation reminiscent of the film, The Hangover.

Jones and Mules took photo and video footage of the animal before releasing it into a canal, but were arrested after a friend saw updates they had posted about their antics on Facebook and reported them to police.

After an alleged drunken rampage at a SeaWorld park, three young men panicked after they woke up the following morning to find they had brought a penguin back to their hotel. NBC's Brian Williams reports.

Magistrate Brian Kucks heard how the pair had written a letter of apology to Sea World and the Australian public, and deeply regretted their actions.

He was reported to have told the pair, “You could have found yourselves in a morgue if you’d gone into the wrong enclosure. Perhaps next time you are at a party you will consider drinking a little less vodka.”

Vasilj, who is facing a single charge of trespassing, had his case adjourned to June 27.

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