A MAN who stole car parts valued at around £80,000 from his employers has been jailed for a year.

Paul Cox, of Anjou Close in Bournemouth, was working for Europcar in Nuffield Road, Poole, when he began stealing after falling into debt.

The 37-year-old, who delivered and picked up hire cars, had particular responsibility for checking to see if each of the vehicles was kitted out with equipment such as spare tyres.

He sold the stolen items on eBay, making just £28,556 - £51,444 less than their true value.

Prosecuting at Bournemouth Crown Court, Rob Welling said Cox was regarded as a "trustworthy and reliable" employee.

When the theft was discovered, he made an "initial denial" to his employers before admitting just half an hour later: "I was just trying to give my family a better life."

The court heard that Cox has debts on credit cards and from payday loans.

"He had buried his head in the sand," Mr Welling said.

Mitigating, Brian Sharman said Cox is "deeply ashamed and remorseful of his actions".

"He has always been in employment," he said.

"He was made redundant about four years ago. He then got a job at Europcar that involved dealing with vehicles generally.

"That's when the offending occurred."

It was heard that the defendant is the "breadwinner" for his young family.

"The motivation for this offending was, quite simply, debt," Mr Sharman said.

"The finances were extremely stretched and he got into debt."

Cox, who has no previous convictions, admitted theft during his first appearance before the courts.

Sentencing the defendant to 12 months in prison, Recorder Stephen Parish said: "I am satisfied that you had a high degree of responsibility.

"This was a gross breach of trust."