A 23-year-old man was arrested for handling a stolen car after he was linked to a mobile phone left in the vehicle.
Scott Greathead was originally accused of burgling a house in Hartlepool, from which two cars were stolen, Teesside Crown Court heard.
Police later found a mobile phone in one of the cars, which contained text messages which suggested Greathead had been in the car.
Greathead, of Winspear Gardens, Hartlepool, admitted handling stolen goods on February 16.
“There was no evidence he was involved in the burglary,” said Steven Constantine, defending. “His account is he bought the car for £100, knowing it was stolen.
“He later thought better of it, so he abandoned the car in the street.”
The court heard Greathead has previous convictions for possessing Class B drugs, criminal damage, and failure to comply with court orders.
“Mr Greathead has spent four months in custody on remand,” said Mr Constantine.
“It may be the court can deem that to be a sufficient period of incarceration for this offence.
“He has problems with alcohol which could usefully be addressed by the probation service and partner agencies.”
The Recorder, Mr Tony Hawks, sentenced Greathead to a community order of 12 months, including an alcohol treatment programme.
The recorder told Greathead: “At the age of 23, you have built up something of a record of largely petty offending.
“Four months in custody is the longest sentence you have served to date.
“I’m not going to read you a lecture about your drink problem, but you need to get it under control.
“This order can assist you with that, but breach any of its terms and you know where you will go.”