Sean Mason was arrested nearby and police recovered a pair of bolt cutters and a screwdriver, a court heard.
Mason, 27, Lumley Close, was ordered to appear at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court on his birthday and pleaded guilty to criminal damage.
Prosecutor Glenda Beck said that officers were called to the factory on July 11 at 5.45pm to a report of a man trying to steal motorcycles.
She continued: “They followed the route that the defendant had run off in and recovered a pair of bolt cutters. Officers viewed CCTV footage and they saw the male on the screen attacking motorcycles.
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“The description of the defendant was circulated and he had been arrested about half a mile from the location of Nissan.
“He was detained and he was searched and found in the possession of a screwdriver.”
The court heard that £500 of damage was caused to a motorcycle parked at the plant, and that Mason has very little memory of the events because he was drunk.
His defence solicitor said that Mason had been struggling since the death of his grandmother who raised him. He cited Mason’s early guilty plea and admissions to the police.
Mason was ordered to complete 80 hours of unpaid work. He must also pay £500 compensation and £50 costs.