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May 8, 2012 at 6:00 AM
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Van impounded despite number on side

LITTLEHAMPTON, England, May 8 (UPI) -- A British man says he had to pay to get his stolen van out of impound because police couldn't find him even though his information is printed on the vehicle.

Jez Luff, 38, of Littlehampton, England, said police told him his stolen van was found with the engine running April 28 and was told he would have to pay $502 for three days of storage before authorities would release it because officers were unable to find a way to contact him, The Sun reported Monday.

However, Luff said his business's name, Web address and phone number are printed in large letters on the side of the vehicle.

"Call me naive, but what about the big 4-foot vinyl sticker clues, with our phone number, logo and Web address? You don't need to send a team of detectives to read the side of a van. The phone number is even 24 hours," Luff said.

A police representative said officers decided it was not "practical" to call the number on the van.

"Where an owner cannot be immediately identified or contacted, a vehicle is taken into storage. A number was on the van, but due to the time of day it wasn't considered practical to call," the representative said.

Man led police on low-speed chase

HOUSTON, May 8 (UPI) -- Houston police said they arrested an intoxicated man accused of leading officers on a low-speed chase and attempting to run over an officer.

Police said Andres Martinez, 24, led police on a 20-minute low-speed chase Sunday morning on the Gulf Freeway and swerved his car in an alleged attempt to hit an officer who was laying down a spike strip in the road, KHOU-TV, Houston, reported Monday.

The officer jumped out of the way of the vehicle and was not harmed, police said.

Martinez allegedly told officers after his arrest he was not trying to strike the officer and his car swerved because he was trying to roll a joint while calling his "peeps" to tell them about his impending arrest.

Martinez appeared in court Monday on charges of evading arrest and attempted intoxication assault. Prosecutors had sought an attempted murder charge, but the judge said there was not enough probable cause to support the count.

Bond was set at $30,000.

World's largest chess piece unveiled

ST. LOUIS, May 8 (UPI) -- A Missouri chess club has unveiled the "World's Largest Chess Piece," a 14 1/2-foot tall king weighing 2,280 pounds.

The piece, installed on the patio in front of the World Chess Hall of Fame in St. Louis by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis, was formed by R.G. Ross Construction, The (St. Louis) Post-Dispatch reported Monday.

"This piece serves as a monument to the chess culture we are creating in St. Louis," club spokesman Mike Wilmering said.

Wilmering said the piece, which was unveiled Monday to commemorate the Tuesday start of the 2012 U.S. Chess Championships, which has been hosted by the club since 2009, was certified by Guinness World Records as the largest on the globe. The previous record holder, a 13.1-foot-high king, was built by Mats Allanson in Sweden in 2003.

German zoo nurses Nelson the ugly parrot

LEIPZIG, Germany, May 8 (UPI) -- An official at a German zoo said Nelson the parrot, rejected by his mother at birth has been described as possibly "the ugliest bird in the world."

Timm Spretke, deputy director of the Leipzig Zoo, said Nelson was immediately rejected by his mother, Owaka, despite being the only one of three chicks to survive hatching, The Local reported Monday.

Spretke said zoo worker Petra Strecker has been feeding Nelson for the past seven weeks with a homemade parrot-food paste but the baby bird's survival is in question.

"He's not quite out of the woods yet because he's not yet taking food himself," Spretke said.

The parrot has gained a measure of celebrity, with the newspaper Bild describing him as "a cross between a roast chicken and an alien" and Britain's Daily Mail suggesting he "could be the ugliest bird in the world."

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