A burglar who claimed he was hiding from a gang of armed men when he was caught in the attic of an empty house has been jailed.
Damien Anthony McMahon told officers he had run into the property after being chased by four men threatening to shoot him, Belfast Crown Court heard.
The judge said his story was "nonsense" and "completely stupid".
McMahon, 25, of Fianna House, Belfast, will spend 12 of his 30-month sentence in jail and 18 months on licence.
He admitted a single charge of burglary with intent to steal.
Police responded to reports of an incident at a house in Stratheden Street in north Belfast in June 2013, the court heard.
Upon arrival, officers found copper piping in the hall and when they discovered McMahon hiding in the attic, he was "crying and shaking" as he told them he was taking refuge there.
A defence barrister said McMahon "fully accepts responsibility for what he had done".
Passing sentence, the judge told McMahon that after being "caught red-handed", he had made up a "completely stupid story which could not be believed by anybody".