BUNGLING burglars wearing Halloween masks were caught by police as their raid on Torquay's Pets at Home went terribly wrong.
The trio were caught by police hiding in air-conditioning ducts after they set off alarms and knocked over a tower of pet food during the night-time break-in at Torquay's Pets at Home store, off Hele Road.
CCTV images captured the intruders under the bright security lighting at 3am as they used a crow bar to jemmy open the sliding glass front door.
Once inside the store, the threesome tried to crow bar the alarm box off the wall.
But the alarm went off and the CCTV footage shows one of the men tumbling backwards, crashing into a falling tower of pet food.
Within minutes police had surrounded the building and the three tried to hide by climbing 20ft into the air conditioning system and through a void in the building to the adjoining Staples unit.
Officers worked with store staff, dog units and fire crews with thermal imaging cameras to find the men by looking at both shops' CCTV.
DC Robin Waymouth said: "One was actually inside an air-conditioning duct. It took about 30 minutes to get him out. We knew he was in there because one of the fire crew shoved a brush up and he shouted 'Ow' and his trainer fell out of the unit."
The third man then set off the alarm system at Staples.
DC Waymouth said: "It transpired he had climbed into a void in the fabric of the building and entered Staples next door.
"The man could not be located easily and the CCTV at Staples was also viewed.
"A person could be seen climbing into the high racking used to store heavy goods.
"A further search was carried out and a man was located hiding behind cases about 15ft to 20ft above the ground."
DC Waymouth thanked staff from the two stores who helped in the search: "We would like to praise the staff at Staples and Pets at Home who assisted us and offered advice and knowledge of their CCTV systems and the buildings so we located all the offenders.
A spokesman for Pets at Home said: "None of our colleagues were in the store at that time and we are pleased to confirm none of the pets in our store were harmed in this incident."
Three men appeared at Torbay Magistrates' Court on Tuesday and pleaded guilty. James Seabury was sent to prison for 18 weeks. Christopher Gloster and Lee Cummins were both given 12-week prison sentences, suspended for 12 months.