TWO military men who sold stolen Army equipment on eBay have been handed community orders.

Alan Lovett admitted handling stolen goods in respect of a framed Scots Guards sergeant’s tunic, three utility kits, a ration pack, helmet and gas mask he was caught selling on the website.

His co-accused Graham Martin pleaded guilty to the same charge having supplied Lovett with a Scots Guards drum major’s tunic.

It was the most expensive item and said to be worth more than a thousand pounds, although the epaulettes on it were worth considerably more, prosecutor Martin Towers told Teesside Crown Court.

It sold on eBay for £721 on December 20, 2011 and text messages were exchanged between the two men which related to the item.

Both defendants were connected to the Scots Guards – Martin worked as a storeman looking after clothing belonging to its 1st battalion and was not due to leave the Army until April next year.

Lovett, 45, of Arklie Terrace, Richmond, North Yorkshire, had left the Army in September 2011 after 20 years service, some of which had been spent with the Scots Guards.

Mr Towers said investigations began after a civil servant working for the Ministry of Defence in London noticed a guard’s bearskin being offered for sale on eBay by a user called ‘Warrior953’.

This was revealed to be Lovett and when records were checked it was found he was frequently selling items which originated from the MoD.

Police arrested Lovett and searched his home on April 14 last year where they found some of the items. A mobile phone was also found which showed he was in regular contact with Martin.

Lovett told police he sold items given to him by serving soldiers, some of which were supplied by Martin.

Mr Towers said: “As a result of their background both of these defendants would be aware of what material ought and ought not to be on the open market.”

Matthew Harding, for Lovett, said: “This is not a case where material bound for other parts of the world and for active service were placed in Mr Lovett’s hands for profit.”

Dingle Clark, for 37-year-old Martin, of Roman Crescent, Catterick Garrison, said: “It is a tragedy for him to appear in court after a distinguished career.

“As a result of this case a full audit was undertaken of the quartermaster’s facilities where my client works and a clean bill of health was returned.”

John Brown, a regimental sergeant major at the infantry training centre in Catterick, said father-of-three Martin was “highly respected, honest and trustworthy”.

Recorder Angus Withington said the offences did not pass the custody threshold, but a community penalty was the least sentence he could impose.

Both men received 12 month community orders and 60 hours unpaid work each and were ordered to pay £250 court costs.