Three German tourists who stole a van from Christchurch Airport in New Zealand have told a court they thought it had been abandoned for free use.
The tourists said they had heard that backpackers often left their cars at the airport when leaving New Zealand if they were unable to sell them.
They found the van, with keys, in the airport carpark on Tuesday and drove away, but were soon stopped by police.
The court found them guilty and ordered them to pay NZ602 (£310; $456) damages.
Friedrich Weisbach, 21, Hans Lorenz Steinfurth, 20, and Isabelle Caroline Manna, 21, had arrived in Christchurch from Australia.
They admitted taking the van, owned by Lucky Rentals and worth NZ$10,000, but said in their defence that it was not an obvious rental and was not in the rental area of the carpark.
It is not uncommon for backpackers to buy a cheap used car or van when they arrive in New Zealand and then sell it on when their tour is over.
Their lawyer said they wanted to plead guilty rather than seek a diversion – under which convictions can be waived for first-time offenders who agree to certain conditions – so they could continue their travels.
Bah. Instead of fining them, they should just jail them for the duration of their visit – then they’d have unique stories to tell, of what it’s like to be in a New Zealand prison! 😉
The world’s most pierced man, Rolf Buchholz, has been denied entry into Dubai after he was due to make an appearance at a hotel nightclub.
The 53-year-old German has 453 piercings on his body and face, as well as two horn implants on his forehead.
Mr Buchholz told the BBC that airport staff said they feared he may be practising “black magic”.
The computer expert was recognised by the Guinness Book of Records in 2012 as the world’s most pierced man.
Mr Buchholz told the Associated Press news agency that he was initially allowed through immigration, but was later stopped prior to customs and put on a flight to Istanbul.
As a result, his scheduled appearance at the Cirque le Soir nightclub in Dubai’s Fairmont Hotel on Friday was cancelled.
Payback for the Occupation, schweinhunden! 🙂