An Intercity bus driver was robbed of more than $800 worth of possessions while refuelling his vehicle at a Whanganui petrol station.

The driver was shocked to find his backpack missing when he re-entered his InterCity bus having topped up at BP 2go on Taupo Quay in Whanganui.

The timing was all too convenient for Mathew Llewellyn-Thomas, who entered the bus after observing the driver going inside to make his payment.

Llewellyn-Thomas grabbed the bag containing the driver's keys, cellphone, prescription glasses and logbook on September 29.

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Six days later, Whanganui police officers were knocking on his door.

"Police executed a search warrant at the defendant's address and the victim's keys were located inside of a backpack belonging to the defendant," police prosecutor Graham Hoskin told the Whanganui District Court.

"The defendant had no authority to enter the bus or take the victim's backpack. The other property in the backpack was valued at $830 and was not recovered."

Llewellyn-Thomas pleaded guilty to theft ex-car through duty solicitor Ollie Crosse, who said that the defendant acknowledged that what he did was wrong.

"He's accepted responsibility for this. I'm instructed he was homeless and cold at the time," Crosse said.

"I'm also instructed that he wasn't on medication for his ADHD."

Judge Dugald Matheson sentenced Llewellyn-Thomas to two months' imprisonment.

"The bus driver was most distressed by this and I can understand why," Judge Matheson said.

"As a result of your theft, Tranzit's out of pocket to the extent of $515. [The victim] is out of pocket to the extent of $310.12 and AMI's out of pocket to the extent of $924.46.

"They should not be out of pocket."

The Judge ordered Llewellyn-Thomas to pay all of the sums in reparation.