When hapless Hartlepool burglars Michael Hogg and Andrew Wood stole a wad of £50 notes, they thought they had pocketed a sum not to be sniffed at.
It was only after the bungling pair had raided the retired man's home in Tunstall Avenue that they realised the notes were novelty tissues and virtually worthless.
Hogg, 33, and Wood, 28, who between them had a string of 205 offences and 113 convictions, broke into the man's house in August after spotting the pile of 'cash' on the windowsill.
The pair were arrested as they tried to flee the scene after a neighbour called the police.
They were jailed for more than seven years after they pleaded guilty to burglary at Teesside Crown Court.
Matthew Collins, mitigating for Hogg, said: "It is an offence borne more out of stupidity than involving any significant planning. He saw what he thought in his deprived state was money. It turned out to be tissues which had a £50 note printed on it.
"He walked away feeling very stupid. He realises the effect it has had on the victim."