Chinese farmer suspected of stealing birds to keep his BMW on the road

Police have detained a man suspected of stealing then selling chickens and ducks from villages in southwestern China to pay for petrol for his 2 million yuan (S$395,636) BMW.

Officers said the suspect stole the birds during raids in Linshui county, Sichuan province, since April, the Red Star News app reported.

The 50-year-old, who was not named in the report, is a wealthy farmer who lives in a multistorey villa, the officers were reported as saying.

Police said the suspect thought of stealing chickens and ducks when he ran into financial trouble and needed to "subsidise" his spending on petrol. The BMW was a thirsty car, the suspect was quoted as saying.

Officers said they identified the suspect based on footage from surveillance cameras on rural roads, adding that he usually rode a motorcycle into villages late at night, according to the report.

The man told police he raised the chickens and ducks at home then found a buyer for them.

An officer said the suspect almost got away in his car when police chased him on May 22.

"He was driving a luxury car and was much faster than us on the motorway. We absolutely could not catch him," Zhang Hua, director of a police station in Linshui county, was quoted as saying.

Their chance came when the suspect left the motorway and headed towards a village, where officers caught up with him on the narrow roads.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post