Oldham gang jailed for £160k supermarket thefts

Oldham gang jailed for £160k supermarket thefts

Six men who stole more than £160,000 worth of items from supermarkets, by setting off alarms to distract security guards, have been jailed.

The gang, based in Oldham, Greater Manchester, mainly targeted Asda stores for high-value items including perfume, alcohol, cosmetics and thousands of nappies.

They committed 81 separate offences across the UK to avoid being caught, Cheshire Police said.

The men were each jailed for 42 months.

Nicolae Ilie, 37, Alin Mihai, 28, Florin Costea, 52, Stefan Florin, 31, Marius Meirosu, 25, and Gabriel Mocanu, 36, who were originally from Romania, all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal at Chester Crown Court.

They set off security alarms as a distraction technique that enabled them to escape with the stolen items unseen, police said.

They would then sell on the items, such as printer cartridges, razor blades and alcohol.

Between April and September 2019 they targeted stores across Scotland, Wales and England.

Cheshire Police began investigating after Asda reported a £1,000 theft at its Barons Quay store in Northwich.

Detectives examined CCTV footage, number plate recognition and credit card data which led them to a house in Oldham.

Thousands of nappies and more than 50 razors, perfume and alcohol were found.

Det Con Paul Matchett said it was clear the men “travelled to the UK with the sole intention of committing crime”.

He said they “set up their base in Oldham” and believed they could “evade justice by spreading their crimes across the country in a bid to keep a low profile.”

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