The men ended up covered in anti-vandal grease and paint.
Two men who were caught with their hands covered in anti-vandal grease and paint that they left at commercial and domestic properties they attempted to burgle in Runcorn town centre have been jailed.
28-year-old Jamie James, and 43-year-old William Napier, were seen by town centre CCTV operators climbing over a gate covered in the grease and paint moments before they attempted to break into Runcorn Library at around 2am on Monday August 19th.
After failing to gain entry to the library, they went on to target a nearby butchers, shop and an occupied flat.
The men, who are both from Newcastle upon Tyne, damaged a back door and a key safe at the library and forced open an outside toilet at the butchers.
But the pair failed to get inside any of the premises they targeted and were arrested by officers in Runcorn town centre around 40 minutes after their attempted crime spree began.
The anti-vandal grease and paint they had on their hands were found on all four buildings.
There were finger and hand prints on doors and door handles they had touched whilst trying to break into the buildings, and the attempted burglaries were all captured on CCTV.
James and Napier were subsequently both charged with four counts of attempted burglary.
They pleaded guilty to the charges and were sentenced at Chester Crown Court on Wednesday 16 October.
James, of Dipton Avenue, Newcastle upon Tyne, was jailed for 23 months and a week.
Napier, of Commercial Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, was handed a three-year prison sentence.
Detective Constable Paul Cullen, who led the investigation into the offences, said: “I would like to thank the town centre CCTV operators for capturing the criminal activities of the bungling burglars in Runcorn town centre in the early hours of Monday 19 August and for reporting them to the police.
“They enabled us to catch Jamie James and William Napier red-handed, which would have literally been the case had the paint been red.
“With the CCTV footage and the anti-vandal grease and paint that the pair left on the buildings they tried to break into, they were always going to be convicted for the offences.
“James and Napier targeted a library and business premises.
“They also tried to burgle a flat that was occupied, targeting people in the one place they should be able to feel most safe – their own home.
“I am delighted the pair have now been handed prison sentences and I hope that this case deters others from coming to Runcorn or elsewhere in Cheshire to commit offences.
“James and Napier have been prolific theft and burglary offenders in the North East of England and I hope that whilst servicing their custodial sentences they reflect on the lives they have been leading and change their ways.”