Attempting to sell a gold watch he found on his backseat led to unpaid work for a Tenby taxi driver, when the rightful owner spotted it online.

Mark Ian Powell, of Jameston, Tenby, pleaded guilty to theft when he appeared before Haverfordwest magistrates on Tuesday, July 2.

Vaughan Pritchard-Jones, prosecuting, said a £390 Clogau gold watch was left in the back of a taxi after falling off its owner’s wrist on September 15.

Powell, 34, took over the car from another driver and found the watch at the end of his shift.

Mr Pritchard-Jones said: “Instead of handing it in to control, as he should have done, he kept it and gave it to his wife.

“She did not like it so he tried to sell it to get some money.”

The watch’s owner spotted the online advert and a family member contacted Powell to get his details, which were then passed on to the police.

Mr Pritchard-Jones said: “He handed it over to the police, but initially denied the theft. He said it was a complete coincidence that he was selling it and he had bought it for his wife.”

He added: “He was in a position of trust. When people get into a taxi, especially when drunk, they often leave things in taxis, and they should be returned.”

Mike Kelleher, defending, said Powell was previously of clean character.

“Mr Powell found the watch at the end of his shift, any number of people could have lost it.

“He made a huge mistake and did something that he had never done before. The watch was returned so there is no loss.”

Magistrates imposed a 12-month community order with 150 hours of unpaid work and ordered Powell to pay £170 in costs and a surcharge.