Two hardened suspects on New Zealand's North Island tried to make a break from a courthouse Wednesday, still tied together by handcuffs. But before they could run across the street in Hastings, they were hit by pepper-spray — and that’s where their bolt for freedom went horribly wrong.

Stumbling onwards, the hapless criminals appeared to forget they were tied together — and ran on either side of a streetlamp.

They slammed into each other, fell to the ground, and collapsed in a heap.

The first prisoner, Regan Reti, 20, had just been jailed 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.

“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,” Senior Sergeant, Dave Greig, explained.

“That’s where they met the pole — it was all over, rover.”

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

Naturally, the pair won’t be allowed to forget Wednesday's ludicrous escape attempt — because, in a good old fashioned dose of New Zealand humor, the whole episode was released to the public after being caught on CCTV .

The country’s TV One News has already billed it as “one of the worst escape attempts ever seen."

Click here to watch the video at the Times of London.