Ben Inquieti and another man tampered with nine vehicles to collect diesel in 25-litre containers, at JKH Transport, in Giltbrook, said prosecutor Almas Ben-Aribia.
The alarm was raised just before 1.30am, on Sunday, August 25, 2019, but Inquieti and his accomplice fled before police arrived.
CCTV showed him drinking and then discarding the can, which was later found and linked to him.
After his arrest, on October 25 that year, he told police he was drunk when someone offered in the pub him £80 to help with the theft.
In a statement, the owner said repairs and lost fuel cost the firm £18,466, and he now constantly checks CCTV cameras from home and feels anxious.
In a separate incident, Inquieti, a banned driver, hit three cars and crashed into a house on Bridle Lane, Ripley, just before 11pm, on October 25, 2019, when the occupant was at home with her four-year-old daughter.
Inquieti staggered out of the green Honda Civic, "stumbling and unable to walk straight," before he was detained by the woman’s neighbours.
He was taken to hospital in Chesterfield complaining of injuries, where he became aggressive and shouted: "I don't f****** care. I'll knock you the f*** out. I'll take you the f*** on."
When he was arrested for public disorder, he bit an officer's hand, causing pain and discomfort. A test revealed he was twice over the alcohol limit.
Inquieti told officers he drank ten to 16 cans of lager over the course of the day and apologised, Ms Ben-Aribia said.
He was stopped driving a Ford Focus, while disqualified and without insurance, on Matlock Road, Wessington, in June 10, last year, she said, and again in January 2021, in a Hyundai coupé, with false number plates, on Nottingham Road, Selston.
He claimed he “couldn’t use public transport because of the impact on his mental health.”
Nottingham Crown Court heard he has 11 previous convictions for 33 offences, 23 of which are related to vehicles, and he was jailed for two years, in July 2018, for dangerous driving, when he also received a six year ban.
Digby Johnson, mitigating, said he has an "undoubted problem with driving," caused by his attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism.
He wasn't responsible for planning the fuel theft and was asked to go along as a "hired hand" doing the dirty work, Mr Johnson said.
“Furthermore, he didn't even get the £80 he was promised. He was the only one to be arrested. He finds himself facing a prison sentence while the others go their merry way.”
Inquieti hopes to be a carer and has provided care to a friend, he added.
Inquieti, 27, of The Glebe, Awsworth, Nottingham, pleaded guilty to three counts of driving while disqualified and without insurance, driving without due care and attention, and with excess alcohol, failing to stop, assaulting an officer, going equipped and theft, on January 20, this year.
On Wednesday, Judge Nigel Godsmark QC sentenced him to 30 months and banned him for three years after his current disqualification ends.