Thief jailed after police see through his plastic bag disguise


The burglar

Jamie Neil, a 41 year old from Bethel, Cornwall, has been jailed for two years for his role in robbing a Co-Op petrol station in St Austell, Cornwall in September last year. He and his accomplice were easily tracked down through CCTV footage, after Neil employed what has been described by the investigating officer as the most 'ridiculous' disguise he had ever come across.

The robbery was a farce from the outset, but is it really the worst disguise ever used?


The Telegraph reported from Truro Crown Court, where Neil was jailed. He and his accomplice, 20-year-old Gareth Tilley, were apparently drunk on alcohol and stolen medication when they robbed the shop.

They stumbled into the shop and pointed a mobile phone at the assistant demanding cash. She realised it wasn't a gun and pressed an alarm, whereupon Neil wrestled her to the ground, headbutted her, and fled with bottles of spirits.

According to The Mirror the Detective Constable who investigated said: "Before arriving at the location Tilley disguised his face using a scarf and Neil, being less resourceful, put a plastic bag on his head. I investigated the case with CCTV and forensic evidence used to identify the assailants."

The Metro highlighted that it didn't help Neil that the bag he chose to disguise himself was transparent, and his face could be seen through it. The image was distributed among police officers, and one recognised him while she was off duty and called police officers to arrest him.

Both men have been jailed for two years.

Worst disguises

So does this qualify as the world's worst disguise? It makes the top five, but it has some strong competition, largely from the US.

4. In Washington at the end of last year a man walked into Bank of America with a stolen ID, requesting a new debit card. In an effort to look more like the man pictured on the ID he had taken, he also wore a terrible wig, a stick-on beard, and an array of bandages. When he was asked by police whether he thought he looked anything like the man in the photo he responded by hanging his head and saying: "I know."

3. Back in 2008, in Tacoma, a man who became known as the 'dish towel bandit' made the unusual choice to rob a bank with a dishtowel wrapped around his head. The 'disguise' hid his forehead but nothing else.

2. At the beginning of this year there was the Louisiana man who tried to rob a seafood restaurant with a bucket on his head. His plan was scuppered by the fact he kept running into things, and had to lift the bucket up to see where he was going.

1. Then there were the Iowa criminals who made an even odder choice of disguise. In 2009 they covered their faces in black marker pen to disguise themselves when they tried to break into a property - they were caught with the permanent marker still on their faces.

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