A joiner who stole hundreds of pounds’ worth of equipment from his employers before building up a web of lies to hide his crime has been spared jail.
Steven Wynn told bosses at South Tyneside Homes that he had left the expensive haul of power tools in the boot of his car – which had been subsequently been stolen – when he was spotted carrying out work without them.
The 33-year-old twice changed his story in a bid to cover his tracks, insisting the £772 worth of tools were at a friend’s house who was working offshore before claiming he had left them in a work van.
He continued to deny the theft when arrested by police before admitting his guilt on the day of his trial at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.
He was given a 12-week prison term – suspended for 12 months – when he was sentenced yesterday.
The court heard that Wynn had started work as a joiner at South Tyneside Homes’ empty homes repair department on October 7 last year and was given the array of tools – including drills, a saw and a plane – on October 15.
But when he was visited by a team leader while carrying out work on October 17, the tools were nowhere to be found.
Glenda Beck, prosecuting, said: “On October 17 his team leader attended an address Wynn was working at.
“He noticed he was working without the power tools.
“He was asked why he was not in possession of them and said he had left them in the boot of his car, which had been stolen.
“He said the car was at a compound after being recovered by police.
“When his team leader asked him to pick up the tools, he then said the tools were at a friend’s house who was now offshore and he was unable to get them until he was back.”
Wynn was dismissed from his post when he failed to return to work after the Christmas holidays.
After an internal investigation, police were alerted and Wynn was arrested.
Mrs Beck added: “He said in police interview that he had left the power tools in the work van on Christmas Eve.” This version of events was disputed by another worker.
Wynn, of Bevan Avenue, Sunderland, was unrepresented at court and offered no mitigation to magistrates ahead of sentencing.
As well as being given a suspended sentence, he was ordered to pay £772 compensation to South Tyneside Homes, £450 in prosecution costs and an £80 victim surcharge – making for a total court bill of £1,302.