Yesterday, Canterbury Crown court jailed the remaining members of a gang for their attempted raid on seven cashpoints last August and September. The court heard how the gang had taken power tools to the ATMs, but only succeeded in drawing attention to themselves, rowing, setting off alarms, and setting fire to cash with their blow-torches.
It's not the kind of story to inspire the next installment of the Ocean's Eleven films, but is it enough to give them a place in the Dumbest Criminals hall of fame?
A report in the Daily Mail listed the disasters that befell the gang of five as they attempted to rob seven ATMs across Bedfordshire, Kent and Sussex over the course of three weeks last summer.
On one occasion they failed to conceal themselves behind bins and were spotted by neighbours, on another they made so much noise that they woke up the neibourhood. During one attempt they even erupted into an argument as the look-out girl aired her anger that she wasn't going to get any petrol money for helping them in their efforts.
All they managed to achieve was making a series of holes in walls, setting off alarms and setting fire to bank notes with blowtorches. They even failed to notice a stack of cash after they successfully broke into one ATM, and eventually came away with nothing.
The gang leader was already serving a jail sentence, but had been wrongly transferred to a low security prison and escaped. He separately carried out some successful robberies on ATMs, and was jailed for five years and three months. The others were jailed for a variety of periods, with the most lenient being three years and five months.
Hall of fame?
These botched, and yet sustained, efforts must surely merit this gang for inclusion in the 'dumb criminal' hall of fame. However, they have some serious competition. In the last few years, contenders for the title of most ridiculous criminals ever have included:
1. The US burglar who took a photo of himself on a stolen computer, holding his swag, and posted it on the Facebook account of his victim.
2. The UK metal thief who broke into an electricity substation and while he was there decided to urinate on a transformer - with considerable medical implications.
3. The US criminals who covered their faces in black marker pen to disguise themselves when they tried to break into a property - they were caught with the permanent marker still on their faces.
4. An 18 year old burglar in Stockport who was apprehended after writing his name on the wall of the property he had broken into.
5. A Michigan thief who was caught after trying to steal knives by hiding them in his trousers. He tripped on his way out of the shop and stabbed himself in the stomach.