A MAN who stole high value items from three North Wales Tesco stores has been ordered not to set foot in any of the company's premises for more than a year.

Ionut Oprea, of Hampton Road in Birmingham, was produced in custody at Wrexham Magistrates Court on Tuesday afternoon.

The 29-year-old admitted three thefts from Tesco stores - taking place at Porthmadog on August 20, Holywell on September 21 and Ruthin on October 4.

Justin Espie, prosecuting, told the court that the defendant targeted bottles of champagne in particular, with the overall loss to Tesco across the three incidents coming to £990.

Oprea was seen to use a device called a "de-bugger" to remove security tags and on one occasion there had been a car waiting outside for him.

On one of the occasions, when he wasn't followed by security, he took the opportunity to go back in and steal more items.

Mr Espie said Oprea had one previous conviction, for a like offence, in the Avon and Somerset area.

Christopher Filer, defending, told the court: "The defendant has been in this country for a matter of months.

"Initially he had work car cleaning and painting and decorating.

"That work dried up and he was then faced with a family dilemma, where his parents separated.

"His mother was left with no income and he says he stole the drink to provide her with financial assistance.

"He's not a drinker himself.

"He is apologetic for what he has done and says if he is released, he will make a genuine effort to obtain work with a supermarket and avoid criminal activity."


District Judge Gwyn Jones told the defendant: "It is clear you travelled from your home in the West Midlands on three separate occasions and stole high value goods from Tesco with a view to selling them on.

"It was targeted, professional and reasonably sophisticated."

The District Judge handed down a total sentence of 16 weeks, but suspended it for 16 months.

During that period of time, he is prohibited from entering any Tesco store in England and Wales.

Denbighshire Free Press:

He must also pay £990 compensation to Tesco and £85 prosecution costs.

District Judge Jones concluded: "You've travelled across significant parts of England and Wales, and I am satisfied that with a view to restricting your movements, I exercise my discretionary power to order you to be disqualified from driving.

"That will be for 16 months."