A burglar stole a kayak from a holiday home in Kent and took to the English Channel to paddle his way to Calais and start a new life in France.
Paul Redford, 45, was wearing just a child's life jacket when he set off across the Channel, the Northern Echo reports.
He was spotted by a concerned lifeboat crew just two and a half miles into his risky voyage and was asked if he'd like a lift back to the British shore, which he accepted.
A spokesman at Littlestone-on-Sea lifeboat station told Sky Tyne and Wear: "He was a quiet unassuming man. We brought him aboard together with the kayak and put an adult's life jacket on him."
Redford is wanted for crimes in Darlington and Northumberland, and appeared at Teesside Crown Court on Friday.
He admitted taking the kayak from a holiday home near Folkestone, Kent before he was returned by police to the North-East.
There he was questioned about other burglaries, including theft of mobile phones in Blyth, Northumberland.
He will be sentenced in a month's time and was warned that as a third strike burglar he faces a minimum of three years in prison.
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