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prisoners' escape foiled by folly

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Uploaded on Jan 29, 2009

It was less than a Great Escape.

Two New Zealand prisoners who were handcuffed together as they fled a courthouse foiled their own getaway when they ran to opposite sides of a light pole, slammed into each other and fell to the ground.

Jailers nabbed them as they struggled to their feet.

Their escapade on Wednesday was captured by a CCTV camera at Hastings District Court on New Zealand's North Island. The footage shows the two men trying to make a break for it - but apparently forgetting they were joined at the wrist.

Hastings police Senior Sgt Dave Greig said one inmate, Regan Reti, 20, had just been sent to prison for more than two years after being convicted of assault.

The other inmate, Tiranara White, 21, was in custody for allegedly stealing a car and violating parole.

"As they were being led from the Hastings police cells ... they made a bolt for freedom," Greig told The Associated Press on Thursday.

"They fell over and they were sprayed with pepper spray. But they got up and ran out of the court onto the street, across the road to a car park," he said. "That's where they met the pole - it was all over, rover."

The pair were back in court on Thursday, facing fresh charges of escaping from custody.

Police said Reti, who pleaded guilty to the charge, had a month added to his prison term. White did not enter a plea. He will remain in police custody while a psychiatric evaluation is carried out.

Grainy footage of the escapade shown on TV One News was billed as "one of the worst escape attempts ever seen".

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