A foolproof disguise and a meticulously planned getaway would rate highly on any armed robber’s to-do list.
But such thoughts were clearly a long way from the mind of a bungling raiderin England named James Allan.
Allan’s catalogue of errors began when he selected Martin’s newsagent in Northcourt Road, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, as his target.
Not only did staff know him as a regular customer, he had also robbed the place 10 days before this comically-bad attempt on March 2.
Things went from bad to worse when Allan, clutching a toy gun and £134.98 taken from the till, inexplicably whipped off his balaclava in full view of the cameras before failing to grasp the concept of a one-way door.
Frustrated at the door’s inability to yield as he pushed instead of pulled, Allan kicked out at a glass panel and toppled backwards, sending a display of drinks bottles skidding across the floor.
The 28-year-old was eventually let out of the shop by manager Angela Croke, who had had the toy gun pointed at her.
Allan was picked up by police on the same road three hours later with the balaclava stuffed in his pocket.
He burst into tears when put in the back of the patrol car and told officers: “I’m sorry, it’s not fair on them – are they all right?”.
Allan was jailed for three years for this offence last month but new details can only now be released after he was sentenced at Oxford Crown Court on Thursday for the earlier raid on the shop.