Is this the most useless robber?
WHAT could easily be described as a thoroughly bungled armed robbery saw a would-be hostage fake a phone call and dial triple-0.
Stephen Kevin Delphin had a brainstorm to rob two men he knew to be in recent possession of a pile of cash - one of the less than cautious men posted a photo on social media of his recent casino winnings in September last year.
Delphin did not bother with a disguise when he burst into the men's Cairns home armed with a rifle.
"He was always destined to be caught," crown prosecutor Jodie Crane told Cairns District Court.
"So ineffective was his effort that one of the complainants was able to fake a call from work and in fact call the police."
Delphin - reeling drunk and unsteady on his feet - had earlier threatened to blow out the men's kneecaps.
"He was erratic, ranting incoherently and in possession of a loaded firearm," Ms Crane said. "He was pointing it back and forth, it must have been terrifying."
It was at this point that one of the men had a brain wave and - gambling that the thoroughly pickled intruder would not know the difference - made the ultimate fake 'bad date phone call'.
"He pretended his phone rang and told him (Delphin) that he had to take the call outside," Judge Tracy Fantin said.
Sucked in by the conveniently timed "work emergency", Delphin allowed his quarry to duck out, and he dialled triple-0.
Police arrived at the residence minutes after the defendant quit while he was ahead and left.
Delphin - who had a history of armed robbery at gunpoint - pleaded guilty to burglary while armed and assault with intent to steal while threatening violence.
The court heard that Delphin and a co-accused had previously held up a bottle shop, also with a firearm.
Michael Dalton, defending, told the court his client had a long history of substance abuse, starting with heroin at 16 and methylamphetamine at 17.
"He had a rough upbringing," Mr Dalton said.
Judge Fantin jailed Delphin for four years, with parole eligibility after February 1, 2020.