A 17 stone burglar was branded ”wholly incompetent” after he was caught red-handed when he got stuck – trying to climb through a 2ft hole.
Tubby Clive Webster, 30, used a screwdriver, a crowbar and a hammer to knock the small hole though the side wall of a department store.
But he became wedged when he tried to climb through the 2ft wide cavity into the shop and got stuck half way, a court heard.
Webster spent several minutes wriggling out of the hole which was also just 6ft from a burglar alarm – which went off.
Police arrived seconds after he freed himself and Webster, along with his brother Kelvin, 25, an accomplice, were found crouching behind a nearby wall holding a ladder.
Officers say Webster, of Illfracombe, was ”covered” in thick brick dust where he had tried to force himself into the small hole.
Both men admitted burglary at North Devon Magistrates Court following the offence on May 16.
Tim Hook, defending, said: ”This was a wholly incompetent attempt at burglary. In fact, were there a school of burglary this example might be given to students on the first day to demonstrate what not to do.
”The hole made by the pair in the wall was just six feet away from a burglar alarm. Also imagine if you will the rather ungainly sight of my 17 stone client inserting himself into such a small gap.
”From every viewpoint they were bound to fail. It was a misguided and instant decision made only because the store is so near to their own house.
”It was an inevitably doomed enterprise. Nothing was taken and even if they had gained entry there was limited stock in the room they accessed.”
Clive was ordered to do 100 hours unpaid work and Kelvin was given a curfew with electronic tagging for two months.
The pair were also ordered to pay £150 each in compensation.