A would-be thief came to a slippery standstill in Hamilton last night.

Hamilton police said a man had attempted to steal a wallet, but when fleeing he slipped on wet stairs and knocked himself out, coming around in time to answer police questions.

Senior Sergeant Jeff Penno said officers were called to the Te Rapa Waterworld complex in the north of Hamilton about 7.40pm.

"It appears the man, who told police he'd been drinking, has been attempting to flee when he has slipped on some stairs.

"He was given first aid by staff at the site but couldn't tell officers how the wallet, that belonged to a person working out at the gym (in the complex), came to be in his bag."

A 28-year-old Hamilton man was arrested and now faces theft charges.