A man who accidentally stole a pair of shoes appeared in Whanganui District Court on Tuesday.

Police prosecutor Rachel Willemsen told the court Josiah Friesen, 24, entered the Warehouse Whanganui on February 21 at 10.39am.

He put on shoes valued at $29 and left without paying.

His lawyer Jamie Waugh said his client hadn't meant to take the shoes. He had gone to the store with his three children, bought clothes for them and in the commotion simply forgot to pay.

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He was approached by security guards at Wendy's who pointed at his feet. When he looked down to the shoes he simply said "bugger."

He pleaded guilty to one charge of shoplifting.

Judge Dugald Matheson said his story seemed credible and ordered he come back to court in 12 months only if called upon.

"You're not a thief, don't come back here."