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Three inept thieves in Colombia had to abandon a robbery on finding the meaning of the phrase “as stubborn as a mule”.

The men robbed a grocery shop in the town of Juan de Acosta, taking rum, oil, rice and cans of tuna.

A local TV station reported that they’d already stolen a donkey to use as their “getaway vehicle”.

But the beast, named Xavi, refused to co-operate and brayed so loudly that police went to investigate.

The thieves were forced to abandon the donkey — and the booty — in order to escape.

But it was Xavi who ended up in the cells — he had to spend 12hr at the police station, until his owner came to collect him.

This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (31 January, 2013)