Bungling cops on the look out for knifepoint robbers stopped to give two men a lift - completely unaware they were the culprits.
Daryl Lewis, 24, robbed Kondwani Simukonda, a Zambian national, at knife point, telling him: "Give me your money or I'll stab you", before taking the man's wallet.
Lewis and his pal, Benjamin Elliott, 20, then headed to a shop but were stopped by police - and astonishingly they were offered a lift.
The bungling officers gave the two yobs a lift and let them go, where they promptly attempted to use the bank cards in the stolen wallet.
Exeter Crown Court heard how the victim was walking down a road in Exeter, Devon, on February 27 when his terrifying ordeal began.
He noticed two men following him and was grabbed from behind by Lewis who demanded money and threatened to stab him.
Judge David Evans said: "He saw you had a knife and were pointing it at him and he was terrified. He feared for his life."
The student managed to break away and shouted for help but Lewis ran him down and tackled him to the ground.
Judge Evans added: "While the defenceless victim was on the floor you brandished the knife and said 'Give me the money or I'll stab you'."
After the incident Kondwani dialled 999 and officers were dispatched to the scene.
Lewis and Elliott were stopped and questioned by police, but fobbed them off, the court heard.
Lewis pretended to know nothing and said his friend: "Apparently someone got robbed. Can you believe that? A robbery in Exeter."
The two defendants were then offered a lift to Costcutter by the police officers.
Lewis, from London, admitted robbery. Elliott from Exeter pleaded guilty to fraud and handling stolen goods.
On Friday the pair appeared at court for sentencing and Lewis was jailed for 26 months Elliott was given a community order for his lesser role.
The court heard both defendants were of previous good character and said they were sorry for what they had done.
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