A sacked salesman posed as his former employers to order nearly £300,000 of cars after getting drunk.
Paul Donkin was asked to leave Durham Hire and Sales after just two months of working for the firm, the Sunderland Echo reports.
In a drunken rage, he used the company’s log-in details to buy 24 cars from an online trade auction.
Staff at the British Car Auctions (BCA) became suspicious with the large order and contacted the company in Langley Moor, Durham.
Police traced the orders to 41-year-old Donkin, who pleaded guilty at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court to two charges of committing fraud by false representation and two of misusing a computer to gain access to unauthorised data.
Lee Poppett, prosecuting, said Donkin was given the passwords when he worked for the firm between June and August last year.
Poppett said: “He accessed the British Car Auctions website from his home address in Mount Pleasant and purchased 21 motor vehicles between 1.20pm and 1.35pm.
“On September 1, he again logged in with the same log-in details and purchased a further three motor vehicles. The combined total of all the vehicles was £294,800.”
Poppett told the court that the company’s directors – who are supposed to sign off on any purchases from the website – said their firm would have gone under if the orders had gone through.
He said: “Perhaps that is where the greatest mischief lay.
Michael Robinson, defending, said he committed the fraud in a “moment of madness”.
He said: “He spent the weekend in a drunken stupor and used information that he had with the purposes of causing them disruption.
“It did not cause them much disruption, as the auction house got in touch with the company and said, ‘do you really want this many cars?’”
Magistrates asked for the case to be adjourned until June 18 for the probation service to prepare a report about him recommending a sentence – taking in all available options, including a jail term.