Burglar Ken Busby was so determined to escape from his latest break-in that he grabbed the testicles of two brave have-a-go heroes.
But despite being in pain, courageous neighbour Peter Miles and postman Robert Pitt refused to let the 34-year-old thief flee.
Now drug addict Busby, of Canterbury Road, Margate, has been jailed for six-and-a-half years for the burglary in Broadstairs.
And the two "decent, brave people" also won the praise of Judge James O'Mahony for catching the thief red-handed.
The judge told Busby: "You then proceeded to assault them in the most painful way you could."
Canterbury Crown Court heard how the raider smashed his way into a house in South Cliff Parade in February and ransacked the home of a couple while they were on holiday.
"He is sorry for what he did and feels a sense of self-disgust..." - Kieran Brand, defending
Prosecutor Anthony Prosser said Busby triggered an alarm and friend Peter Davies was alerted and he discovered French doors broken and rooms - including the children's bedroom - ransacked.
Busby had escaped with jewellery, aftershave and cash - but not before he was spotted by neighbour Peter Miles.
He gave chase and recruited Mr Pitt and they both then saw Busby emerge from an alleyway.
Mr Prosser said that while the neighbour confronted the burglar, the postman began taking pictures of Busby with his mobile phone.
"There was then a struggle on the floor of the alleyway with the defendant reaching for an item in the bag he was carrying before holding onto the testicles of both men," he said.
"But they managed to overpower him and held him until the police arrived."
Busby would later claim he needed money to feed a heroin and cocaine habit, which he said he used as a painkiller for a brain tumour.
But the judge retorted: "Ill or not, it doesn't seem to stop you going round burgling people's homes."
Kieran Brand, defending said: "He is sorry for what he did and feels a sense of self-disgust."
Busby, who admitted charges of burglary, two common assaults and possessing cannabis, has served sentences of between three months and six years since his "criminal career" began in 1995.
Judge O'Mahony added: "There must be a long sentence to protect the public because you have made no real effort to cure yourself of your addiction."