When a Christchurch man was caught burgling a liquor store on the day of the 6.3 magnitude quake, he suggested the store manager just rely on his insurance to cover the losses.

That fragment of conversation emerged at a Christchurch District Court sitting inside the men's prison today when Nicholas Antonio McGregor, 27, pleaded guilty to the burglary, as well as driving while disqualified, breach of bail, and breach of prison release conditions.

Judge Phillip Moran remanded him in custody for sentence at the Rangiora Court House on May 11 and called for a pre-sentence report to assess his suitability for home detention as well as a reparation report on the damage done to the liquor shop roller-door, estimated at $1000.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Michael Tualii said large areas of the city were left without power by the earthquake on February 22, making it difficult for people to call emergency services.

McGregor and an alleged co-offender went to a liquor shop in Woolston which had been undamaged and left secure after the earthquake.

They broke open the roller-door at the side and started to load out boxes of liquor, worth about $600.

When the shop manager arrived, he asked: "What are you doing?"

McGregor replied: "Don't worry about it. You are insured."

The manager demanded they leave the store but had trouble calling the police.

Mr Tualii said: "After repeated requests to leave, the defendants eventually walked away leaving the alcohol outside the store."

McGregor explained to the police that they needed more alcohol and breaking into the liquor store was the only way he could think of getting it at the time.

- NZPA