Exeter robber attempts to flee to France in a boat

A street robber tried to escape to France by sailing across the English Channel in a stolen boat, Exeter Crown Court has heard.

But James Howard, 24, of no fixed address, abandoned his attempt to set off from the Isle of Wight because he could not fit the outboard motor.

He then travelled to Dover to board a ferry but gave himself up instead.

Howard admitted two counts of robbery and was remanded in custody ahead of sentencing next month.

He did not face any criminal charges relating to the boat.

The court heard that Howard carried out the offences last month, grabbing the handbags of two university students who were walking past Exeter Prison in the early hours of the morning.

'Farcical events'

He attempted to give himself up in Dover but local police had no record of him being wanted for any offences and he was sent away.

He went back to the police the next day and was arrested for the two robbery offences.

The Defence Barrister, Sean Brunton, said: "He got to the Isle of Wight to escape to France in a skiff.

"It is a rather farcical series of events if it wasn't so serious."

Judge Philip Wassall ordered pre-sentence reports, calling Howard's behaviour "bizarre".

He warned him that he faced an "inevitable and significant" term of imprisonment.

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