A man dubbed one of Ireland’s “stupidest” criminals has been jailed for seven years for a botched robbery of a gold storage business in Dublin.

Gary Byrne (30), the getaway driver, left the scene of the crime while the robbery was in progress. He left his accomplices Ian Jordan (33) and Aidan Murphy (32) inside the Bullion Room, on Bolton Street, along with two members of staff, who were bound and gagged.

Byrne left the building, with the keys to the safe, locking the shutters at the front of the business behind him and trapping his accomplices inside. They tried to escape through the ceiling tiles and knock a hole in a wall with hammers. The fire services eventually had to cut a hole in the shutter to free those inside. They emerged with their hands up and were sentenced to five years.

Judge Donagh McDonagh described it as “one of the most farcical cases in recent criminal history in Dublin”. The Irish Times reported that he Byrne “ranks amongst the all-time stupidest criminals to come before the courts”.

The getaway driver was sentenced to seven years for attempted robbery, possession of an imitation firearm and two counts of false imprisonment. However, the judge said he would give him “the benefit of his stupidity” and suspend the final two years.

The Judge continued “It was a well researched but indifferently planned operation. They knew the business owner’s schedule well and raided her premises at the most vulnerable time.”

On the morning of the incident a female member of the staff and a security guard were opening the shutters where the three raiders, all dressed as builders, came up behind them and forced them inside at gunpoint.

The demanded the woman give them the keys, threaten her and made her phone for the password. Both staff members were then bounded and gagged. It was at this point Murphy realized he could not find the second key to the safe as Byrne had already fled.

Considering the outcome of their operation the judge said “It would be easy to consider this whole episode a farce if it were not for the fact that two innocent people were treated in this manner. As far as they were concerned, this was [a real gun].”

“One thing is for sure his (Byrne’s) ineptitude and stupidity does not, in any way, reduce his culpability.”

Detective Garda Brian Quirke told the court that Byrne was the getaway driver. He fled the scene in a blue Ford Courier. He later abandoned the van and dumped the hard hat, hi-vis jacked and purple gloves he had been wearing.

He was arrested after extensive analysis of CCTV footage.

Quirke also said that while the Bullion Room has since closed they previously traded in precious metals. They usually had up to €50,000 ($65,700) in cash on the premises and gold to the value of €400,000 ($526,116) to €500,000 ($657,740). The business also had an intricate security system which needed two people with two separate keys to open the safe and a password that had to be phoned through to a security company.