Three thieves were undone when they returned to the scene of their alleged crime - to silence a parrot.

The trio allegedly stole DVD players, computers, radios, televisions and other electronic items from a house in Memphis, Tennessee.

However, one of the three realised that a parrot in the house had heard him using the nickname "JJ" for one of his accomplices - and had started repeating it.

"They were afraid the bird would stool on them," said police Major Billy Garrett said. "They actually believed he could identify them."

They went back for the bird and were loading it into their car when police arrived, authorities said.