THIEVES who stole cash from an 81-year-old tourist in Chester have been slated by police for their ‘sickening’ crime.
Police arrested a gang of Romanian men who were spotted targeting elderly people on the city’s CCTV.
The gang were seen to approach an 81-year-old lady, who was enjoying a holiday in the city, before discreetly stealing her purse from her bag and fleeing the scene.
Now, the five men have all been placed behind bars for the theft.
On Tuesday last week, Sorin Curte, 27, Durel Negut, 19, Joan Lucaci, 43, Leonard Durac, 22 and 18-year-old Florin Salii were each sentenced to three months in prison at Chester Magistrates Court.
Sergeant Andy Burrage explained that the gang had been monitored following a tip-off from British Transport Police after they were spotted acting anti-socially in the train station.
“This incident is an excellent example of agencies working together across the city, including British Transport Police, the council CCTV and Chester Police.
“For five grown men to target an 81-year-old lady who was on holiday in the city is sickening and not acceptable or tolerated in our city.
“DC Rob Marshall and PC Mel Sawojka worked a lengthy shift, which included conducting five interviews with interpreters before compiling the file of evidence which ensured that within 24 hours of committing the offence these five thieves were in prison.
“I am also very pleased that we will be able to return the stolen monies to the victim in this case.”
But he warned residents and visitors to be on their guard as the festive season kick starts, saying: “I would like to remind members of the public to be mindful of their personal belongings – particularly as the city becomes busier with Christmas shoppers – and to ensure that bags are zipped up and fastened.
Jingle bells are freely available at the Town Hall Police Station again this year to help safeguard shoppers against pickpockets.