SWINDON became the latest target for a travelling Romanian shoplifter who stole more than £700 of goods from Waitrose on Mill Lane.

Alexandru Ciurez, aged 29, of Chigwell Road, Woodford Green, Essex, appeared before magistrates sitting in Swindon to answer two charges of theft.

He was jointly charged for the theft from Waitrose with 19-year-old fellow Romanian Denisa-Georgiana Mitu, from Manor Road, Walthamstow.

They appeared together in the dock of Swindon Magistrates' Court, handcuffed to security officers.

Through an interpreter, both pleaded guilty to the charge of stealing items on Tuesday, October 25, to the value of £735.10 belonging to Waitrose.

Ciurez also pleaded guilty to a further charge of stealing goods to the value of £589.03 from the Bershka fashion store at Whitefield Shopping Centre, White City, London in February of this year.

Prosecuting, James Burnham told the court the thefts constituted a breach of a suspended sentence Ciurez had received for a theft in Milton Keynes in February of 52 t-shirts to the value of £780 belonging to Hollister.

He added that Mitu had no previous convictions but had been cautioned for theft from a shop in Kent on Saturday, October 22 this year.

Mr Burnham said the two defendants had been captured on Waitrose CCTV cameras acting together. They had a zipped bag for life inside a trolley loaded with items and left the store without making payment.

Dropping the bag outside the store the pair were pursued across a field by police. They were stopped and returned to the store where staff ran the stolen 49 items through the till to ascertain their value.

Mr Burnham said the items were of high value, such as electric tooth brushes, and would have been sold by the defendants.

Of the theft from Berska Mr Burnham told the court that on February 23, 2016 Ciurez had been followed by security staff at the store. He appeared to carry a foil-lined bag, used to defeat shop security devices.

Ciurez put items in the bag and walked out without paying. He was then detained and the police were called.

Defending, Terry McCarthy told the magistrates that there was a great deal of difference between the two defendants. Mitu, he said, lived with her parents and had casual employment as a cleaner, bringing in £200 a week on average.

He added that Ciurez fully expected his suspended sentence to be activated but were he to receive a further suspended sentence he would comply.

The magistrates ordered Mitu to pay a fine of £200 for the Waitrose theft plus £85 court costs and a victim surcharge of £30. She was given 28 days to pay.

Chairman of the bench Mr Hyson told Mitu: “We have taken into account your guilty plea but also that you have a caution for a previous offence. Be careful.”

Mr Hyson told Ciurez he had taken no notice of his suspended sentence and had committed a further offence. The magistrates had therefore activated that six-week sentence and imposed a further order of 12 weeks custody for the Westfield offence.

“The Waitrose Swindon theft shows that the seriousness of your offences is escalating so for that we order 16 weeks in custody, to operate consecutively.

“You will therefore serve a total of 34 weeks in prison.”

Ciurez was ordered to pay court costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £140.

“It may not seem like it but we did take your guilty pleas into account,” Mr Hyson told Ciurez.

“The fact that these offences are in different parts of the country would suggest that you go travelling about to commit them.”