A man drove a machine three miles to road works where he stole over £10,000 worth of bridge supports and sold them to a scrap merchant for £238.50.
David Hoyle, 32, took eight bridge supports from Bill Boley Ltd on September last year using the telehandler, a cross between a forklift truck and a crane, he had taken from a building site he was working on.
You loaded them up and took them to a scrap merchant receiving a modest amount for these. The loss to the company is in access of £10,000.Recorder, Simon Hirst told Hoyle
Neil Pallister, prosecuting, told Newcastle Crown Court how the businesses were left £10,485.79 out of pocket for the supports, which cost £1110 each plus vat.
As there was no supervisor on site, Hoyle was able to gain access to the telehandler vehicle and drove it, without a licence, from Felling, Gateshead, to the roadworks in Washington.
The owner of Bill Boley Ltd discovered eight of the bridge supports had been stolen and contacted police.
The police investigating the matter found the defendant had visited a scrap merchant and CCTV identified Hoyle with the telehandler.
Hoyle, of Waskerley Road, in Barmston, Washington, admitted theft and driving without a licence.
Stuart Graham, defending, said: “It’s clearly an area he shouldn’t have gone into.
“This morning his mother has gave me some information I was not aware of.
“In 2007 he had a very serious accident while working. He fell off a platform, smashed his legs in a number of places and spent four years on crutches.
“He had a terribly depressing time after that accident.
“It was too much to bare, he took an overdose of Tramadol. He ended up in a mental health hospital.
“When I asked why he did not tell me about it he said he didn’t want the sympathy vote, I didn’t want to play on that.
“He had no idea how expensive these girders were.
“What is significant is having had these injuries he went back to work in 2011, he has been working constantly and not feeling sorry for himself at all.”
Recorder Simon Hirst told Hoyle: “You took a telehandler from your place of work and drove it three miles down the road and collected eight bridge supports.
“You loaded them up and took them to a scrap merchant receiving a modest amount for these.
“The loss to the company is in access of £10,000.
“You saw the items lying around. In your line of trade you realised there was value to them.”
Recorder Hirst sentenced Hoyle to eight months in prison suspended for two years.
He also ordered Hoyle to pay back £5,000 in compensation.