A manager of a branch of Matalan who was in debt to loan sharks, got friends to carry out a mock raid on his store and even fake his own kidnap in order to steal £27,000, a court has heard.
Mark Capewell, of Stoke, got four friends to pretend to be masked thieves and capture him at knifepoint during a night time raid.
The fake gang even slashed Capewell's face to make the charade seem more convincing.
However, this did not fool detectives and they soon confessed.
Capewell (26) admitted conspiracy to burglary and was handed down two and a half years in jail at Chester Crown Court.
His solicitor said this was a "foolish" plan that had been concocted in order to pay off debts.