A FORSBROOK man has been jailed after he stole valuable equipment from his employer and sold it on eBay.
Frederick Selfridge, aged 61, helped himself to laptops and gas monitors from Enterprise over almost four years; he then lined his pockets by selling the items on the internet.
Now Selfridge is starting a 16 month prison sentence.
Prosecuting Fiona Cortese said: "Various items were taken from the Holditch site, from the store rooms, offices and containers.
"The defendant would attend sites to make sure workers had the correct parts. He had access to the store area.
"There were rumours the defendant was responsible but there was no evidence with which the company could challenge him."
The court heard that in March 2011 one of the company's managers began to research eBay and found similar items sold by a man called Fred.
And in October 2012 a worker, who attended a job with his own equipment, was found to have a Gasco seeker which matched one reported missing from Enterprise.
The worker told the company who he bought the equipment from.
Miss Cortese said: "He looked at a photo which confirmed the person he had dealings with was the defendant."
A laptop was stolen from the Holditch site on October 12 last year and CCTV showed Selfridge on site at the time carrying an item. Checks on eBay showed the defendant had sold the same type of laptop.
Selfridge, of Meadow Close, Forsbrook, who has a relevant caution for theft, pleaded guilty to theft between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2012 and fraud.
The court heard it cost the company more than £50,000 to replace the stolen items.
Stuart Muldoon, mitigating, said Selfridge admitted his offending as soon as he was confronted by the police.
But he accepted the judge would draw the inference the defendant only stopped because he was caught.
Mr Muldoon said: "He can't recall how it started but it was so easy.
"He is going to find it very difficult to find employment in the future because of his age and these convictions."
Jailing Selfridge for 16 months Judge Paul Glenn said: "You stole property over a long period, approaching four years.
"This was a significant breach of trust.
“The loss to the company was in excess of £50,000.
"There is evidence that you sold the stolen property on eBay. Eventually that was how you came unstuck.
"This offending was for financial gain.
“It was premeditated theft. You did not desist voluntarily, you were caught.
“You were motivated by greed."