A LIFE-SIZE cardboard cut out of a policeman, designed to scare would-be thieves, was stolen by a drunken prankster.

Hadley Nye, 30, took the cardboard copper, worth about £100, from a supermarket for a laugh.

But the joke backfired when he was arrested.

Nye, of Hyacinth Close, Clacton, admitted the theft at Colchester Magistrates’ Court and was given a six-week curfew and 20 hours of unpaid work.

Eight cardboard cut-outs of police officers were placed in petrol stations and shops across Essex to deter and confuse would-be criminals earlier this year.