But the cat burglar, with a head the size of a small cat, turned out to be a 5.7 metre python who left the smelly memento for staff at the St Vincent de Paul charity shop in the north Queensland town of Ingham.

“We thought a person had fallen through the ceiling because the roof panel was cut in half,” Sergeant Don Auld told the Australian Associated Press.

“When they’ve hit the floor they’ve vomited and then staggered and fallen over. That’s what we thought anyway.”

 The 17kg python hid from police on their first go-round the premises, but after a crowd gathered at the storefront, they went back in to find the uninvited shopper slithering about the aisles.

The animal had plummeted through the ceiling (damaged from Cyclone Yasi in 2011), knocking over dishes, clothes and other items, before relieving itself all over the store.  

“There was crockery scattered all over the place, smashes, and a big doo doo on the floor,” said Virginia McGrath, the snake handler called in after police failed to bag up the intruder.  

The python was then released in nearby wetlands. 

Image via AAP