A Wanganui man has admitted using nylon, adhesive and a washer to fish money from bank self-deposit boxes.

Adam Charles Travis appeared in the Whanganui District Court this week having pleaded guilty to charges relating to stealing bank deposits and cashing altered cheques.

In the early hours of May 15 and May 18, Travis and a female entered the internal lobby of ANZ on Victoria Ave which is open to customers after hours by bank card swipe access. "Once the two were inside the lobby, the defendant produced a fishing type contraption ... he attempted to fish posted deposits out of the safety boxes," police prosecutor Sergeant Rachel Willemsen told the court.

"He's done this using the adhesive on the back of the safety deposit bags and wrapped the adhesives around a metal washer ... and tied the washer to the nylon dropping it into the boxes."

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Travis managed to snag deposits which he put in his jacket.

He attempted the same thing at ASB Bank on July 2 but did not obtain any deposits.

He tried it again at ASB on July 8 entering the lobby with a glove, nylon, metal washers and craft knife.

"A security guard watched him doing this from his laptop," said Ms Willemsen.

Meanwhile, on April 1, the victim posted a cheque to Farmlands in Wanganui made out to $1208.62. On April 24, the defendant went to ANZ in Wanganui and presented the bank teller with the cheque. He changed Farmlands to read Adam Travis. The teller requested identification and Travis received the money.

Travis also did this in May when a victim posted two cheques written to ACC for $223.70. Two days later, Travis went to Westpac Bank on Victoria Ave and successfully cashed one of the victim's cheques with ACC changed to read A C Travis and changed the value to $2023.70.

Travis' lawyer, Anna Brosnahan, said Travis' financial problems had prompted his offending.

"He'd recently lost his job, he separated from his partner of a substantial period of time and things weren't looking that good for him in terms of finances. It was period of desperation which is why he's done this all of a sudden, out of the blue."

Judge David Cameron said it was "very serious offending.

"This involves going into banks for illicit purposes, breaching the security of the bank by obtaining confidential deposit slips and cheques and then altering them to a substantial extent."

Judge Cameron hinted at imprisonment as a starting point for sentencing. "Otherwise it's not sending a sufficient message to the community that it won't be tolerated," he said.

"There are significant sums involved. The whole methodology has to be looked at. We've got someone cruising around targeting banks for personal gain."

Travis was remanded on bail until September 7 for sentencing.