A CANAL boat called "Cushie Butterfield" was stolen by a 51-year-old man from Gloucester at the Saul Junction.

Bernard Leslie Smith, of Byron Avenue, Podsmead, pleaded guilty to stealing the boat, owned by Arthur Best of Parkend Bridge, Castle Lane, Saul, in August last year.

He was bailed for a pre-sentence report and told to return to court for sentence on June 13.

Paul Trotman, defending, said Smith has 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 it should not be resident Judge Jamie Tabor QC who sentences 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.