CRIME, car theft in particular, clearly does not pay in South Africa.

Four car thieves fleeing police in Cape Town this week, drove straight into the grounds of Pollsmoor, one of South Africa’s maximum security prisons.

The jail, which once housed Nelson Mandela, has an inmate population of about 7000, mostly violent gangsters, robbers and murderers — and now, apparently some car thieves too.

A police patrol spotted the car soon after it has been reported stolen from the affluent area of Hout Bay.

They gave chase and the four occupants “fled into Pollsmoor prison”, city police spokesman Wayne Dyason said.

The men, dubbed the country’s “dumbest criminals” by local media, were arrested in the prison grounds.

A prison officer said the men got into the complex through an entrance that leads to the wardens’ residential area, then abandoned the car and fled on foot.

“They entered through the gate where the officers live, and that is where they were caught,” he said.

thieves - pollsmore prison - Dumb thieves ‘escape’ into prison

An average 146 cars or motorcycles are stolen across South Africa each day, according to police — but it’s extremely dangerous for the thieves.

At about the same time as the Cape Town fiasco, police in Durban shot dead a car thief, wounded another and arrested two others.

They chased the crims through the suburbs, with the men shooting at them as the cars weaved through traffic.

The high-speed chase ended in the city centre with the thieves crashing their getaway vehicle and then taking on the police in a gunfight.

The survivors face charges of attempted car theft, attempted murder and possession of unlicensed firearms.

And at the inland town of Rustenburg, two men trying to steal a car were captured by a mob led by the owner, doused in petrol and set alight.

One died and the other was taken to hospital.

The car owner was arrested when he went to lay a charge of malicious damage to his vehicle and is now facing murder and attempted murder charges.

Just another day in a country where an average 49 people are murdered — every day!

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Bill Buys, probably Australia’s longest-serving motoring writer, has been at his craft for more than five decades. Athough motoring has always been in his DNA, he was also night crime reporter, foreign page editor and later chief reporter of the famed Rand Daily Mail. He’s twice been shot at, attacked by a rhinoceros and had several chilling experiences in aircraft. His experience includes stints in traffic law enforcement, motor racing and rallying and writing for a variety of local and international publications. He has covered countless events, ranging from world motor shows and Formula 1 Grands Prix to Targa tarmac and round-the-houses meetings. A motoring tragic, he has owned more than 90 cars. Somewhat of a nostalgic, he has a special interest in classic cars. He is the father of Targa star Robert Buys, who often adds his expertise to Bill’s reviews.