Two hard-working family men fell prey to temptation when they stole metal off-cuts from their employer and sold them for scrap, Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday.

Paul Moran, 41, and Les Sowden, 54, pleaded guilty to taking steel and aluminium from M1 Engineering on Bradford’s Euroway Trading Estate.

The men were sacked by their employer when the dishonesty came to light, prosecutor Charles Blatchford said.

The court heard that the men’s boss received an anonymous tip-off that several people were stealing metal.

He fitted a tracker system to a company van and Sowden was caught ferrying metal to a trade waste company.

Sowden, of Springwood Avenue, West Bowling, Bradford, told the police he was in debt and had been stupid.

Moran, of Thorndene Way, Birkenshaw, Bradford, admitted being a conduit for the illegal activity.

Mr Blatchford said the total loss to the company was £15,581, between May 2010 and July 2013, but both defendants maintained they had received only £2,500 each from their wrongdoing.

Andrew Stranex, barrister for Moran, said he was a hard-working man with no previous convictions. He had worked for the firm for six years and betrayed his employer for a bit of extra money.

Nigel Jamieson, representing Sowden, said he had worked for M1 Engineering for 28 years before losing his job.

The court heard that both men had now found new employment.

Judge Colin Burn told them: “You must have realised that even though this was off-cut metal, it had value.”

He said the defendants had never offended in this way before, but: “As far as the public is concerned, you are both convicted thieves.”

Moran, who pleaded guilty at the first opportunity, was sentenced to six months imprisonment, suspended for two years.

Sowden, who admitted the offence on the day of his trial, was sentenced to seven and a half months imprisonment, also suspended for two years.

Both were ordered to do 240 hours of unpaid work.

A Proceeds of Crime Application will be heard at the court at a later date to investigate if the Crown can recover any money from the defendants.