SELLING stolen secondhand turbo chargers netted one crook almost £16,000 in profit, a court heard.

Martin Wilson used a friend to sell the reconditioned car parts on Ebay and pocketed the money after stealing them from his employer.

The 36-year-old spent two years sneaking the refurbished parts out of Turbo Active, based on Wynyard Business Park, before selling them on.

And his money-making scheme only came to light when an anonymous letter was sent to the company with print outs of the Ebay page, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Jenny Haigh, prosecuting, said the company boss turned detective and bought one of his stolen turbo chargers before cross-referencing it with his own stock list.

And as a result he ordered a stock check to discover the extent of the theft and all members of staff came under suspicion.

Miss Haigh said: "He said if it is not sold and not on the stock check it would need to be investigated.

"On recceving the letter, he immediately ordered a stock check and he was made aware 50 turbo chargers had gone missing since January last year."

The court heard how Wilson handed in his notice on May 13 after the investigation was launched but during police interview hen denied any responsibility for the theft.

Miss Haigh said the company estimated the theft cost it £30,000 but some of the stolen goods were recovered by police.

Wilson, of Zetland Terrace, Redcar, was found guilty of theft by employee between May 2017 and May 2019 when he appeared at Teesside Magistrates' Court in February.

His barrister, Andrew Coleman urged the judge to pass a suspended sentence on his client .

Judge Howard Crowson told Wilson that usually someone guilty of theft by employee would result in an immediate prison sentence but 'times have changed'.

He said: "You were trusted with this stock to some degree, you posted about it and advertised it on Ebay, that was how they discovered it.

"They bought one of their own and it was easily identified as they were careful how they marked them."

Wilson was given a six month sentence, suspended for 12 months and made subject of a curfew between 8pm and 6am for two months.

He was also ordered to pay £1,800 in compensation.