South Tyneside dad sold tools stolen from building site to discount store

A South Tyneside dad with 125 criminal offences to his name sold tools stolen from a building site to a used items discount store.

Tuesday, 7th December 2021, 5:00 am

John Houlsby, 42, pocketed £125 when he flogged two cordless drills, two batteries and three chisels to unsuspecting Tyne Bargains in King Street, South Shields.

But he was caught on Wednesday, June 16, after the items’ owner sought information about the theft from social media site Facebook, a court heard.

Houlsby, of Steward Crescent, South Shields, had been working on the building site where the goods were stored.

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The case was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates Court.

He was not charged with stealing them but did plead guilty to receiving stolen goods, in that he sold the pieces after being handed them by another.

Prosecutor Marc Atkins told South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court: “The complainant is a site manager.

“The defendant was working for him prior to the offence for one week but wasn’t kept on.

“At some point, the complainant’s toolbox, in which he kept drills and chisels, was taken from its hiding place.

“He reported that to the police and put a status about it on Facebook.

“He was told that his tools were being displayed in a shop and that shop was Tyne Bargains, and the police went there.”

Mr Atkins added: “It turned out that the defendant was a regular customer and he had brought the tools in at some point before.

“That’s the basis of the charge. He was interviewed and he did make admissions to police.

“There is an application of £125 compensation to Tyne Bargains which is the amount the shop’s owner said that he had paid.”

The court heard Houlsby has 40 previous convictions arising from 125 offences, 24 of which are for theft or similar.

But it was confirmed he had not been in trouble with the law since 2015.

Representing himself in court, Houlsby said he wished he had never taken possession of the items.

The merchandise worker added: “I apologise for what I’ve done and you’ll never see me again.”

Magistrates ordered him to pay £125 compensation to Tyne Bargains and fined him £230, with £85 court costs and a £34 victim surcharge.