Three men stole almost £7,500 worth of alcohol and goods from Tesco stores
A cross-border gang which stole almost £7,500 worth of alcohol and goods from Tesco stores have been handed suspended sentences.
Cosmin Barbu (34) and Dumitru Barbu (30) of Mount Rochford Drive, Balbriggan, Co Dublin, who both have significant previous records for dishonesty, faced four counts of theft and two of attempted theft on dates in September 2018.
They were sentenced at Newry Crown Court to three years, suspended for three years.
Adrian Olteanu (34), with the same address and with no previous record, pleaded guilty to the same offences as well as using an Audi A4 on the A1 at Newry without insurance.
He was sentenced to 15 months suspended for two years and disqualified from driving for 12 months.
The Audi was also seized.
A charge of handling stolen goods was withdrawn after the defendants all pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The crown heard how the thieves used hand towels to steal high-value amounts of alcohol and domestic products from Tesco stores.
Almost £3,000 worth of goods was taken from a store in Lisburn while there was a theft of £4,450 of goods and attempted theft amounting to almost £1,000 in Newry, and an attempted theft of more than £2,000 of goods from a store in Banbridge.
Cosmin and Dumitru Barbu had spent the last two months on remand at Maghaberry prison whilst Olteanu was bailed to a Belfast address on a cash surety.
No compensation order was made for the stolen items.
Judge Gordon Kerr said an immediate prison term was not appropriate in the case.
He added: “If you do not stay out of trouble in the next three years, you will be brought back to serve the time you have been given."