A 51-YEAR-OLD man has admitted stealing a canal boat called 'Cushie Butterfield' from Saul Junction in Frampton on Severn.

Bernard Leslie Smith, of Byron Avenue, Podsmead, pleaded guilty to stealing the boat, owned by Arthur Best of Parkend Bridge, Castle Lane, Saul, between Thursday, August 1 and Saturday, August 25 last year.

At Gloucester Crown Court today, Friday, he was bailed for a pre-sentence report and told to return to court for sentencing on Friday, June 13.

Paul Trotman, defending, said Smith had some previous criminal offences on his record and the last one was in September 2011 when he received a supervision order.

He said the magistrates court had declined jurisdiction in the case because the loss to the boat owner was said to be £50,000.

But he questioned how that could be when the boat had been recovered and Smith had actually done some work to the vessel's roof while he had it.

Adjourning the case Judge William Hart said resident Judge Jamie Tabor QC should not sentence Smith because of his own personal interest in the canal boat field.

The 'Cushie Butterfield' was moored at Saul Junction, where the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal and the Stroudwater Navigation meet.

Judge Hart made it a condition of Smith's bail that he does no go to Parkend Bridge.