Two men were arrested after “mooching” through bins and skips in Wigan town centre, a court heard.
Police were alerted after two men with their faces covered were seen on CCTV trying the door of a shop on Standishgate at 2am on July 18.
Wigan And Leigh Magistrates’ Court heard officers found them near skips behind shops on Mesnes Terrace.
Matthews, 29, of no fixed address, had gloves, torches and a black face mask, while Dawber, 27, of Wigan Lower Road, Standish Lower Ground, had gloves, a torch and a crowbar.
Both men denied intending to break into premises, with Dawber saying he looked into a shop after seeing a light.
The court was told they were looking through bins and skips for items they could use or sell.
They said the gloves were to protect their hands, they covered their faces because they were embarrassed to be looking through bins, and Dawber had found the crowbar and kept it to use to fix his bicycle.
Dawber had a toy, which he said he had found and planned to give to his nephew.
Nick Lloyd, defending Matthews, said: “They were behaving like modern-day Wombles, looking through bins and seeing if there is anything they can make use of in their daily lives.”
Bob Toppin, defending Dawber, said: “I think a lot of people don’t know that if you mooch around in a skip, you are committing an offence. They do now.”
Both men pleaded guilty to going equipped for burglary.
They had previous convictions, including going equipped for Matthews and burglary for Dawber.