From Colditz to Shawshank Redemption, prison escape sagas have always fascinated.

But the plot hatched by two inmates at Preston Prison in Britain was more Great Stupidity than Great Escape.

David Crossfield and Jordan Morgan set about digging a hole in their cell wall which they hoped to crawl through.

Using a metal drawer runner, the pair spent hours scraping away at mortar and hiding the rubble and dust in a pair of old tracksuit bottoms.

But, Preston Crown Court heard, they hadn’t done their homework as the tunnel would have led them to an enclosed area inside the prison walls.

As it turned out, however, they never even got that far. After little more than a day Morgan got cold feet and, via another inmate, alerted prison officers to their plan.

The court heard that Morgan and Crossfield, both 18, devised the “fanciful” escape while sharing a cell in March and April this year.

The pair used brute force to break through a chimney breast, then the drawer runner to scrape away at mortar on the Victorian brickwork beneath.

It is thought the pair had been digging for 24 hours when Morgan changed his mind and asked another prisoner to tell staff about the hole.

When shown pictures of the damage Andrew Long, the Recorder of Preston, remarked: “It looks a bit Colditz doesn’t it?”

Crossfield was in jail on remand for burglary while Morgan was awaiting sentencing for a series of drunken arson attacks across Fylde, Lancashire.

The pair were initially charged with aiding a prisoner to escape, but prosecutors dropped that after both pleaded guilty to criminal damage.

Silvia Dacre, prosecuting, said: “They both suggested they were under duress and blamed the other.

“When possible pleas were considered, it was decided that in reality they may have had some rather Colditz-inspired notion of escape, but in reality this was so fanciful it was really not a realistic attempt.”

Crossfield, whose address was given as HMP Preston, was sentenced to two months in jail, less 37 days he had already spent in custody.

Morgan, of Blackpool, was also sentenced to two months. He was given an indefinite sentence for the arson attacks and will have to serve a minimum of three years and two-and-a-half months before being eligible for release.

A spokesman for HMP Preston said it had launched an investigation. - Daily Mail