It has been a year of bungling escapades and downright stupidity for Lancashire’s criminal fraternity.
As 2019 draws to a close we take a look back at the daftest criminals dealt with by police and the courts in the last 12 months.
The year did not start too well for three unfortunate souls who broke into Londis on Whittingham Lane, Goosnargh, in January, and stole a cash machine.
The hopeful thieves left empty handed after they were forced to dump the hefty machine in the street - because they could not lift it into their 4x4 getaway car.
In March, a man was dubbed “Chorley’s stupidest criminal” after boasting on social media he had escaped police during a high speed chase.
Bungling Jason Montague, 25, of Ullswater Street, Chorley, put the bizarre posts on Facebook after a police pursuit in which he crashed into a parked car while driving a Ford Focus on Fieldon Street, Chorley, on February 10.
READ MORE: Chorley's daftest criminal Jason Montague boasted on Facebook he 'escaped' police - but they caught him using this very simple trick
He fled and ran off down Delamere Place, but the car was easily traced back to his address - despite false plates - and the car’s last keeper confirmed he had recently sold the vehicle to Montague.
The same month, Preston man Karl Bruney was jailed over clumsy car chase that ended in him mounting a pavement and stalling - with the incident prompting reports of his premature demise.
Bruney, 29, had been wanted since he failed to attend court on January 14, 2018, and was promptly jailed for 27 months after a pursuit in a silver Seat Alhambra, which had been previously stolen from a parcel delivery driver.
READ MORE: Preston man Karl Bruney jailed over bungled 60mph city car chase that ends in him mounting a pavement and stalling
He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, no insurance and handling stolen goods.
He was also found guilty of attempted theft after an incident at 5pm on September 6, in which three men had driven up to a trailer containing 1,000 Welsh slates worth £4,000 on Preston Road, Grimsargh.
But the unlucky criminals did not realise the trailer’s locking pin was not hooked on properly, and drove away without the loot.
Menawhile, in Cleveleys, a hapless thief was caught on camera as he struggled to steal curtains from Wilko - in full view of security cameras.
His image was duly circulated on social media.
Earlier this year would be burglar Stephen Platt, 50, of Westmorland Close, Leyland, was rumbled at an address on Fox Lane in Leyland - because he was far too noisy.
He was making so much noise he alerted his victims, and was found by police minutes later, hiding behind two flagstones that were leaning against the garage.
He began struggling with officers and they had to strike him with a baton and use Pava spray to subdue him.
It should come as no surprise he was brought to justice - he has been caught out on 121 previous occasions.
READ MORE: Preston burglar "didn't feel in control of his own body", court told
Thief Carl Richardson, 37, of Rose Lane, Holme Slack, Preston, burgled Preston Fire Station in April - then used a fire officer’s stolen card to splurge on scratchcards.
Richardson rifled through employee’s possessions and stole fire officer Michael Hayes debit card and bought scratchcards from the Esso fuel station across the road.
But the dim-witted thief then tried to sell them to a member of public - and told the shocked man he had ‘bought it with a card he stole from the fire station’.
The quick-thinking member of public recognised Richardson as someone he had been to school with, and took the card off him and took it back to the fire station, before reporting the matter to police.
His 16-week jail term was suspended for a year, and he got a drug rehabilitation order.
Even Preston’s judges have found some of the criminal fraternity’s antics tiresome.
An 18-year-old drug dealing cyclist who pulled wheelies at a busy road junction was given some choice words by one judge.
Charlie Smith, of Orrest Road, Preston, was found with illicit drugs on him after his bizarre behaviour led to him being stopped and searched.
Imposing nine months drug treatment and a rehabilitation requirement, Judge Nicholas Barker, said: “You’re clearly a plain idiot.”
A Preston woman’s botched attempt to protect her sister after a serious road crash led to her being hauled before a court.
Nail technician Rakesh Kaur, 29, of Watling Street Road, Fulwood, Preston, arrived at a chaotic accident scene around 20 minutes later with several other relatives, and swapped clothing with her sister, Lakshmi Kaur, 21, who was a new driver. She had only recently passed her test and was not insured to drive the car, which suffered £9,000 damage.
The mum-of-one then approached police officers and told them she - not Lakshmi - had been the driver.
But road officers had already spoken to Lakshmi Kaur about the accident and were immediately suspicious.
Rakesh Kaur pleaded guilty to intending to pervert the course of justice and was sentenced to six months, suspended for two years.
READ MORE: Preston woman who said she had been driving to protect her sister after serious crash hauled before court
But perhaps most foolish of all were members of a burglary gang who posted a photo on social media of themselves standing next to one of the stolen vehicles.
READ MORE: Bungling Preston burglary gang caught after posing with stolen car on Facebook picture
A probe called Operation Fuel was launched by South Division police after keys were taken during burglaries, and seven vehicles were stolen.
Judge Heather Lloyd, sitting at Preston Crown Court, imposed 26 months in jail on Miguel Di Palma, 21, of Brampton Street, and youth detention for 27 months and two weeks for co-defendant Aiden Craigie, 20, of Waterloo Terrace, Ashton, Preston.
The first youth aged 17, received two years and seven months in youth detention, the second 17-year-old got 27 months, and the 15-year-old got 12 months detention. One broke into a Renault car just to steal a Twix bar.
We can only wonder what awaits the courts in 2020!