Former gangster offers reward to catch pet peacock that escaped from his garden

A former gangster turned actor is offering a reward to help catch his beloved pet peacock – after it escaped from his garden and began running amok on his manor.

David Courtney, 63, who is said to have been the inspiration for Vinnie Jones’ character Big Chris in Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, built a special 12-foot-high fence enclosure for the bird which was given to him as a present.

But seconds after bringing the new pet home it flew out of the roofless coop – with Dave not realising the exotic bird could fly.

Now the peacock, named Percy by Dave, is ruling the roost with neighbours being woken up at 4am by his mating call.

The bright blue and green bird has appeared on top of people’s roofs, cars and gardens after escaping seven weeks ago.

Dave is now stumping up a cash reward for someone to help catch the bird.

He made an appeal to his 19,500 followers on Instagram, saying: “Right everyone – I cannot BEAR the loss of my beloved peacock, and I know he is causing so much chaos to my neighbours (must be mine then!)

“To that end, I am offer £250 to anyone who catch and return the peacock to me!

“I’ve had a go and it’s eluding me, so let someone else try! #TheFirm”

Dave said: “I was given the peacock as a gift by a good friend of mine who breeds them.

“He said it would look good in my back garden and he told me that once you feed them they’re quite homely and don’t like to go very far.

“But I didn’t get a chance to show him what a good home he had before he flew off.

“I just had no idea that they could fly – I thought it was like a chicken or something.”

Dave, who has starred in a string of gangster movies including The Dead Sleep Easy and Clubbing To Death says he sees the bird around his home named Camelot Castle in Plumstead, south east London at least twice a day.

But each time he gets close to try and catch it with a large fishing net, the bird keeps escaping him.

Dave, who has also written six books, added: “I can hear it screaming first thing in the morning from about 20 houses up, but I’ve had no luck catching it whatsoever.

“I’ve already had about 10 or 15 sightings today and it’s only 9.30am.

“But I cannot physically run up and down the road to every single one – I’m wearing out my shoes.”

The former gangster has tried a range of methods to lure his pet back into the coop, including downloading a peacock mating call app and trying to catch him with a Sainsbury’s bag.

But he’s convinced his feathered friend is “taunting” him.

He said: “You can get within about eight feet of him before he flies off again.

“He’s happy as Larry flying around up there – I know it sounds silly, but I swear he’s taunting me.”

And Dave’s plea for help on social media wasn’t quite met with the response he was after either.

He added: “People keep coming like cowboys and asking if I want it dead or alive, but I definitely want it alive.”

While most of the neighbours are enjoying the unusual spectacle and have taken to feeding the rogue peacock, some have been left disgruntled by the noisy bird.

Dave said: “I just want to apologise to my neighbours. I’m trying my hardest but he’s even more slippery than I am.

“Half of them are telling me off because they think I’m being cruel but the other half are loving it.

“Lots of people have been taking photos, I reckon he’s going to get his own Facebook page soon.

“He’s a London streets peacock now – I think he’s more famous than me.”