Chewing gum theft is "big business" in South West says CPS lawyer

21/02/2012

The CPS has successfully prosecuted two Romanian men in connection with the theft of hundreds of pounds worth of chewing gum from a supermarket in Taunton. Both men received sentences of imprisonment, although the two cases are unconnected.

CPS District Crown Prosecutor Dean Lampard said: "The theft of large quantities of chewing gum is becoming big business. Although these two unconnected cases are thought to be the first in the Taunton area, the police have told us this specific crime has become a major problem up and down the M5 corridor as well as other parts of the country. It is believed there is a ready market for this stolen chewing gum."

Ciprian Petw had already been charged with stealing more than £550 worth of chewing gum in Norfolk and was out on bail when he was found at ASDA on 16 February 2012 with a large foil lined bag. He was arrested, appeared at Taunton Magistrates court on 20 February 2012 and was found guilty of going equipped for theft. Petw received a 24 week custodial sentence for the Taunton and Norfolk offences.

The court heard how since December 2011 he had shoplifted in Manchester, Elgin and Suffolk as well as Norfolk. Mr Lampard told the court the defendant had travelled down that day from London with the intention of committing offences in Taunton.

In passing sentence, District Judge Parsons stated that Petw had made enough money from his offending to pay for a trip home to Romania for Christmas, but that within six days of returning to the UK he was offending again. The judge stated that Petws offending was organised and professional and that as such it demanded a custodial sentence.

Fane Raducanu, also from Romania, pleaded guilty to the theft of £472 worth of goods from ASDA on 18 February 2012 including chewing gum to the value of £430. Mr Lampard told the court that whilst Raducanu had no previous convictions, this offence had all the hallmarks of being professional and organised. Today, District Judge Parsons imposed a six week custodial sentence.

Mr Lampard said: "The Crown Prosecution Service will prosecute these offenders with the full force of the law and the sentences passed today reflect how seriously this type of professional shoplifting will be dealt with by the courts."