The owner of a 4x4 stolen from Surfleet did his own detective work and discovered it had been put up for auction on eBay, Lincoln Crown Court was told.
The Isuzu vehicle, worth £27,000, went missing from the village on July 21 but within days the owner spotted a similar vehicle bearing the same markings and identical damage to the windscreen being sold over the internet.
Phil Howes, prosecuting, said a friend of the owner arranged a viewing and discovered the vehicle was being sold from an address in Cambridgeshire.
Mr Howes said: “A meeting was arranged to look at purchasing the car. The car was being offered for £10,000 and he was told there had been a bid in for £6,000.”
When the car was checked out it had false number plates and police were called. Officers arrested Anthony Burr who lived at the property where the car was being sold.
Mr Howes said “Whatever his role was he was trusted enough to be given this vehicle to store at his home.”
Burr (46), of Queensway, Chatteris, admitted a charge of possession of criminal property. He was given an eight month jail sentence suspended for two years.
Recorder Timothy Spencer QC told him: “You have got yourself caught up in serious crime. This has all the hallmarks of organised criminal activity.
“You were trusted to look after this valuable vehicle. Whatever your role it was a vital one. You are a man in your mid 40s. You are not naïve.”
Gemma Stokes, defending, said the eBay account which advertised the car was set up by a friend of Burr’s and the contact number to view the vehicle was not Burr’s.
She said: “He was not going to benefit from this. He received a call asking if someone could leave a vehicle while they went on holiday. He has locked gates so it was a safe and secure area.
“There is no suggestion he has ever been inside the vehicle but he suspected something wasn’t quite right and he has pleaded guilty.”