A DRUNK man who sold thousands of pounds worth of tools for just £300 only realised he committed the offence when he found the money in his pocket the following morning, a court heard.
Martin Tilley, of Meadowsweet Court in Malvern, pleaded guilty at Worcester Magistrates’ Court on Friday (June 12) to stealing an estimated £8,000 worth of tools and taking a Ford Transit Van belonging to his neighbour Steven Burgess.
Mark Soper, prosecuting, told the court Mr Burgess parked his van outside his home about 8pm on April 22 and when his partner came home that evening she noticed the vehicle was missing.
She used social media sites to ask for help in finding the van and got a response to say it was parked just half a mile from their home address.
At 8.30am the following day Mr Burgess went to retrieve his van but found all the tools were missing.
The court heard how Tilley’s father’s partner had found the Transit Van keys on the Friday night and the defendant took them and used the fob to find which vehicle they belonged to.
Tilly then took the tools and sold them to a man in a pub in the town. However, thanks to the information Mr Burgess was given over social media the victim was able to go and collect the stolen items from the man who unwittingly bought them.
Defending solicitor Mark Lister said Tilley was intoxicated at the time and had sold the tools for £300, but did not accept they were worth £8,000.
He said: “Mr Tilley was drunk during the course of this incident and he woke up the next morning and found the £300 in his pocket.
“He was approached by Mr Burgess and drove with him back to the pub and found the person the tools had been sold to and repaid the £300 to the man who had paid for them.
“So Mr Tilley was instrumental in the return of the effects.
“The vehicle was parked within a kilometer from where it was stolen outside Mr Burgess’ property, so there was little effort to put it somewhere it would not be found.
“The matter was not reported to the police until after both the van and the tools had been returned to the rightful owners.”
Mr Lister also told magistrates’ the 30-year-old had been receiving help with his drug and alcohol problems since the incident took place.
Chair of the Bench Jane Knowles gave Tilley a 12-month community order with a 20-day rehabilitation requirement and ordered him to complete 40 hours of unpaid work.
He was also ordered to pay £85 in court costs a £60 victim surcharge.