AN IRISHMAN who was "sick of life" took a boat from Saundersfoot and attempted to sail off to France.

Unfortunately for Fanche Mahe, 30, of County Galway, his cinematic escape plan was cut short four-and-a-half miles southeast of the harbour.

The owner of the sailing cruiser Summer Lily had also planned to take to the water on Sunday morning (June 26) and spotted his boat's distinctive red sail disappearing in to the distance.

Appearing before Haverfordwest Magistrates Court on Monday (June 27), Mahe pleaded guilty to taking the £2,500 vessel without consent.

Prosecutor Ellie Morgan said its owner, Mr Glaister, found his mooring empty and contacted the harbourmaster when he noticed his 17ft boat heading towards the Gower.

"The harbourmaster called the police and the coastguard. Tenby RNLI's Tamar class lifeboat Haydn Miller was launched with police officers on board, and they managed to catch up with the stolen vessel," Ms Morgan explained. "Mahe was asked to lower the sail. He initially refused to engage with the officers but then did lower the sail and was taken on to the lifeboat."

The boat was recovered, having sustained damage valued at approximately £50.

Ms Morgan said Mahe wouldn't give the officers his details and claimed he "had no name", but following his arrest did provide the information.

"In interview, he said his motorbike had broken down and he'd decided to take a boat and go sailing," Ms Morgan recounted.

"He said he was just sick of life and wanted to 'p**s off and go sailing'."

Michael Kelleher, defending, said Mahe had come to this country to look for work but "hadn't been successful".

“He simply ran out of money and was at his wit’s end,” Mr Kelleher told the court. “Very foolishly he decided to go sailing as a way of blotting everything out of his mind, but he was chased, caught and brought back.”

Describing the taking of the boat as a “serious offence involving a rescue by the emergency services”, Magistrates fined Mahe £293 and ordered him to pay court costs of £115 plus £50 compensation to Mr Glaister.