A spokesperson for Essex Police has confirmed that officers have managed to capture the prolific and serial Southend trifle thief Patrick Birds – he was taken into custody on Sunday afternoon while trying to remove a catering-sized trifle from Belle’s Tea Room in Thorpe Bay. 

An accomplice named locally as renown gangster Gianluca Vermicelli was also arrested at the scene.

He added: ‘Patrick has taunted us on social media on multiple occasions about evading police action for his crimes, but on this occasion he was actually stupid enough to check in and broadcast a Facebook Live video while he was in the act.’

‘To make matters worse for himself, Belle’s speciality trifle had a high sherry content, and when our officers apprehended him trying to drive away he was ten times over the legal alcohol limit.’

‘We have been collecting evidence about his illegal activities in the area for the last six months. A number of his associates have already come forward and given statements about how he has been selling the stolen trifles on and creaming off the profits for himself.’

‘He even tried changing his appearance on a regular basis to keep himself under the radar. Although he started out with a dry and frizzy hairstyle, by the time we caught up with him he had decided to gel it in.’

‘We have also arrested his wife Leia on suspicion of destroying evidence that was vital to our investigation. By the time we raided their property in Southend, vital documents had been expunged.’

‘In the end it seems that his arrogance got the better of him. Only a complete fool would leave so many clues on social media in real time, and it didn’t take us too long to catch up with him.’

Mr Birds is due to appear before magistrates on Monday morning, but it is likely that he will face a stint in prison as he is currently serving a suspended sentence for honey laundering.’