A former bodyshop technician stole parts of a new Audi A3 rental car and swapped them with items from his older Audi S3, a judge has been told.
Alexander Keating, 23, lost his job after being convicted of theft at Warrington Crown Court.
He took several parts, some as obvious as the car's steering wheel and gear knob, from the A3 his mum was using while her car was being repaired following an accident.
He thought no one would spot his S3's old steering wheel on the new A3 but, unsurprisingly, someone did and the car hire firm's Asset Protection Unit (APU) reported the crime.
It was "a serious example of theft" in the opinion of Judge Nicholas Woodward, who ordered Keating to pay more than £2,500 in fines and costs.
APU Director of Investigative Services Neil Thomas said Keating is by no means a master criminal but he is surprised he thought he could get away with swapping the parts without anyone noticing.
He said it shows how the APU is working with businesses and the Police to detect and punish motor criminals.
Copyright Press Association 2014