THIEVES p-p-p-picked up a penguin which has delighted children with its "feed me rubbish" messages at a Newport charitable group's headquarters for less than two weeks.

Despite the fact that it is overlooked by the local police station, the perky penguin was stolen from its home in the garden of the Bettws in Bloom Environmental Association during Friday night.

The theft probably involved at least two people as the penguin had to be lifted over a fence surrounding the premises.

The thieves left behind its twin - another cute battery-operated penguin which "speaks" as rubbish is placed inside, with messages such as "yum, yum feed me more", and "thanks, that's the best meal I've had today".

Association chairman Nobby Woodcock said: "We are gutted. We just didn't expect it."

The £700 bin was ordered by the group to encourage children to dispose of their rubbish responsibly.

"The children love it. When we have groups here they are creating rubbish just to put in it."

He said they would be studying CCTV footage today to see if the culprits could be identified, and he also appealed to anyone with information to contact Bettws police on 01633 838111.

"We want the people on the estate to help us to help them," he said. Since it was formed about seven years ago, the association has gone from strength to strength.

Its new building is already used by the community, and the latest venture is a well-equipped youth club.

Mr Woodcock said they were looking for volunteers to help run the club. Anyone who is interested should contact 01633 859404 or 01633 859488.