A MAN who stole two canoes found himself up the creek without a paddle when he was caught in the act.

But magistrates in Chester chose to give Gavin Lee Roebuck a conditional discharge after he pleaded guilty to theft at a court hearing yesterday.

Roebuck, 30, of Fairford Road, Lache, claimed he had been helping a local homeless man to remove items from a skip in the Household Waste Recycling Centre on Bumpers Lane.

He was spotted throwing items over a fence at the site, which is owned by Cheshire West and Chester Council, on July 10 and a police dog unit was dispatched to the scene.

Roebuck was quickly found and arrested following a brief chase.

Because the canoes had been left as rubbish, he told officers he did not think taking them would amount to theft.

Defending at Chester Magistrates Court, Adam Antoszkiw said Roebuck had made full admissions as soon as he realised he had committed an offence.

“He didn’t think he was doing anything wrong,” he said. “He thought they were in the skip because no-one wanted them.”

Roebuck was handed a conditional discharge for 12 months and must also pay £85 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.