The men, both 21, stopped passing tourists early last month in the old town of Nice, southern France, telling the unsuspecting passers-by that they were carrying out police checks.
“At the end, we all laughed together,” said one of the sentenced men in court, according to the Nice Matin newspaper.
“They understood it was a joke. There was no violence.”
The court did not see the humour in the situation however, and sentenced the men on Thursday to two months in prison for the comprehensive groping.
“You groped people, you flattened them against the wall, you went through their things, do you not think this made them feel uneasy,” asked the magistrate Dominique Karsenty, according to the paper.
It is alleged that the men stopped three travelers from the UK and two from Romania, subjecting them to what has been described as a thorough groping while frisking them.
However, the men’s poor choice of civilian clothing under the jacket that aroused the tourists’ suspicion.
Underneath the high visibility vest with the word ‘police’ on the back, the two men were wearing casual sportswear, complete with jogging shoes, wrote the paper.
The men claimed to have found the police jacket, with one of them wearing it due to the cold, thus prompting what they thought to be an “amusing” prank.
“If it was a joke, it was in particular bad taste,” said the prosecutor.
The men were convicted of aggravated violence and impersonating police officers.