A man who stole cable from the former Buxton Mineral Water site was arrested after police spotted a van with cable hanging out of the rear doors, a court heard.
Police saw the VW van on Bridge Street at just after midnight on September 4, High Peak Magistrates’ Court heard.
Driver Andrew Larry Taylor’s hands were covered in dirt from digging up the cable, which was worth £800, prosecutor John Cooper said.
The van Taylor was driving belonged to his brother, and he didn’t have permission to take it, and wasn’t insured.
In interview, he answered no comment to all questions, Mr Cooper added.
The 33-year-old, of Crown Street, Denton, admitted theft, taking a vehicle without consent and using a vehicle without insurance.
Terence Walsh, defending, said: “He has come to court and pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.
“In relation to the vehicle, he believed he was insured to drive it. He accepts he didn’t ask for permission to take it.”
The case was adjourned until October 29 so a pre-sentence report could be prepared.