A disgruntled former employee burgled a car showroom and stole four vehicles over a seven-hour period.

Lee Scott used a taxi to keep taking him to the Budget Car Centre as he repeatedly drove cars away after smashing his way into the business.

The 38-year-old was recognised by a neighbouring businessman and was later identified through CCTV images, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Chris Baker, prosecuting, said the defendant smashed a window in the Stockton premises before stealing the car keys and driving away in his selected vehicles.

“The keys for a number of vehicles were removed from the premises along with a jumpstart pack.

“Four were missing and three others were damaged,” he said.

“The burglary and theft had started at around 11pm and the removal of the vehicles had gone on throughout the night until around 7.30am.

“The CCTV footage showed at least two people carry out the offence.”

Budget Car Centre, StocktonBudget Car Centre, Stockton (Image: Google)

Mr Baker said the footage showed the men being dropped off at the site before a car was stolen and the same process was repeated until the four cars had been stolen.

Scott, of Bolton Court, Middlesbrough, pleaded guilty to burglary and theft following his raid between October 2 and 5 2022.

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All of the vehicles the defendant stole, worth £19,400, were returned to the garage owner but one had been damaged, the court heard.

Judge Nathan Adams jailed Scott for nine months.

He said: “You stole car keys and then used those keys with another person to steal a number of vehicles.

“The vehicles were returned but that was not your intention.”