A MAN stole hundreds of pounds from his employer to buy a car because he claimed his boss owed him £1,000 in unpaid wages, a court heard.

Nicholas Waters stole a £745.50 cheque from Easy Drive Cars in Darlington in June last year, magistrates in Newton Aycliffe were told.

The business owner discovered the money was missing when he was going through accounts, with both the cheque and the stub missing, the court heard.

Prosecutor Lorraine Cooper said suspicion immediately fell on Waters, 55, of Eldon Street in Darlington, because he was the only other employee with access to the cheque book.

Waters fully admitted taking the money when he was interviewed by police, the court heard.

He told officers he had been working a lot of extra hours which he had never been paid for and estimated he was owed about £1,000 in wages.

He also told police he needed the money to buy himself a car.

Waters, who admitted theft and fraud, was representing himself in court but did not give any mitigation as magistrates advised him they would need a pre-sentence report from the probation service and he could put forward his case at a future hearing.

He was given unconditional bail to return to the court on Thursday, June 19.