Grantham court: Chewing gum thief sentenced

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A Romanian national has been sentenced to 120 hours of unpaid work for the theft and attempted theft of £2,000 worth of chewing gum and other products from two Lincolnshire supermarkets.

Ionut Dumitru Nae, aged 31, from Burnaby Road, Coventry, had previously entered guilty pleas to attempting to steal £900 worth of items, predominately multi-packs of chewing gum, from Morrisons in Stamford on November 21, and then on the same day to taking similar products totalling around £1,500 from Grantham’s branch of Asda.

At around 7.50pm Nae and another man were seen by other shoppers in Stamford’s Morrisons loading a trolley full of chewing gum packs and other goods.

They reported this to a member of staff, and the men ran away into a waiting dark coloured Mercedes outside, the registration number was recorded and identified.

Then, shortly afterwards, the two men were seen at Grantham’s Asda, again filling a trolley which they had covered the sides of using large white boards, with chewing gum, boxes of champagne and various other products.

This time they managed to get the trolley out of the store, but at 9.30pm were stopped by police in the Mercedes and arrested, with the stolen items recovered from the vehicle.

Chris Pye-Smith, defending, said that this was Nae’s first conviction, and he had been ‘invited to be a participant in the crime with the promise of a financial reward’.

Mr Pye-Smith highlighted that at the first opportunity Nae had pleaded guilty to the charges when he appeared before magistrates in custody on November 24. Since then the case had been adjourned twice in order to obtain a pre-sentence report from probation officers in Coventry.

Although a full report had still not been provided, as Nae had repeatedly answered his bail conditions to attend court and report daily at a Coventry police station, Grantham magistrates decided to sentence him to a community order consisting of 120 hours of unpaid work.

He must complete this over the next 12 months, and was also ordered to pay £85 in prosecution costs and a £60 victim surcharge.