Nottingham

Judge tells Libertines gig thieves to return to Romania

Eduard Cirlea, Daniel Ratusanu and Gheorge Valceanu Image copyright Nottinghamshire Police
Image caption The judge at Nottingham Crown Court advised the Romanians to leave the UK and not return

Three men have been sentenced for stealing mobile phones from people at a Libertines concert in Nottingham.

The Romanian nationals admitted taking more than 20 phones during the gig at Rock City on 12 December.

They were arrested as they drove back to Birmingham with the phones plus some others that had been taken, Nottingham Crown Court heard earlier.

Judge Stuart Rafferty QC sentenced each of them to 16 months in prison, adding: "Go [to Romania] and don't come back".

Thieves targeted concert

The victims had stored their phones in their front trouser pockets, the court heard.

"Victims described when the lights went up phone cases and SIM cards thrown on the floor," said prosecutor Lorraine Fox.

She said when they were stopped by police, Daniel Ratusanu, 41, was driving and Gheorge Valceanu, 27, was found wearing a "cycling-style" bodysuit with phones concealed inside.

Eduard Cirlea, 41, was found wearing a jacket with nine phones inside the pockets.

She said the men had "driven to Nottingham specifically for that concert".

Image copyright Nottinghamshire Police
Image caption The phones were found hidden in a coat and body suit worn by two of the men

Defending the men, their lawyers said they came to the UK to find work and felt "ashamed and embarrassed" of their behaviour.

'Go back to Romania'

They said they were the "breadwinners" and their wives and children were in Romania struggling financially.

The court heard Valceanu had been in the country for less than 15 days and Cirlea had arrived three days prior to the thefts.

"This was pickpockets having a road trip," said Benn Robinson defending Cirlea.

Sentencing them, Judge Rafferty said: "You clearly have skills as pickpockets. One of you had clearly taken the trouble to buy an item of clothing that provided enough storage.

"If I were each of you, I would go back to Romania as quickly as possible and not come back again.

"People seem to think life in this country is easy. It is probably easier than it is in Romania but if you are coming here to steal it makes it miserable for everybody, including your own families."

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