A DELIVERY driver who stole more than £12,000 worth of mobile phones from packages has avoided going to jail.

DPD driver Jordan Dee, from Eaglescliffe, near Stockton, stole the phones from packages that were meant to be delivered by the company last November.

Durham Crown Court heard the 29-year-old stole eight iPhones and Samsung Galaxy handsets, valued between £300 and £785 each, and had received a further 13 mobiles from another man, whom Dee said he could not identify.

Dee pleaded guilty to one charge of theft by an employee and another of handling stolen goods.

Saba Shan, prosecuting, said his manager became suspicious after several mobile phones were found to be missing from packages which were supposed to be delivered on November 10 last year, and again on November 17.

The manager checked CCTV footage of the warehouse, in Cathedral Park, Durham, and saw Dee picking up packages from piles allocated to other delivery drivers.

He then proceeded to check Dee's car, where he noticed a number of empty DPD packages, as well as some which were unopened.

When police arrested Dee, of Meadowfield Drive, they searched his home and car, finding about 25 items in the footwell and rear of the vehicle.

The court heard the total value of items stolen was £12,250 but about £4,000 worth of phones had been recovered.

A probation officer told the court Dee, who has ADHD, had debts of about £15,000 but was currently working as a car salesman for Vauxhall.

Helen Towers, mitigating for Dee, said he was now on medication which helped him resist acting impulsively, which his ADHD makes him prone to.

She said: "This is someone who has demonstrated he is capable of rehabilitation. We ask for that opportunity."

Judge James Adkin gave him a 12 month sentence, suspended for two years and told him to complete a community order.

He is also subject to a curfew between 9pm and 5am for five months and has to pay £1,000 in compensation.

He said: It seems to me you don't present a risk to the public, though the offending is serious it doesn't have any features that means it must mean custody."