The three retail raiders, aged 78, 70 and 55 respectively broke into the store sometime after 4 am and were busily throwing designer clothes brands and leather handbags into hessian sacks when the police arrived on the scene.

As officers fanned out, sweeping the darkened store with their flashlights in search of the intruders the three would be burglars, dubbed by the Italian media as the ‘grandpa thieves’ stood perfectly still in amongst some mannequins staring blankly into space with their arms held at odd angles.

At first the ploy seemed to work and the officers became convinced the thieves had escaped the store and evaded capture.

Unfortunately one of the old men sneezed and eventually gave the game away, which is a bit of a shame really.

The three professional thieves, already known to police, were carrying sophisticated lock picking equipment and have been charged with aggravated theft.

Image: Getty