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Romanian ATM thieves jailed

 Published on: 8th December 2017   |   By: The Newsdesk   |   Category: Uncategorized

Two Romanian thieves were jailed for 15 months for targeting cash points at petrol stations on roads in Herts, Middlesex, Essex and Cambridgeshire including Hemel Hempstead and Potters Bar. Vladut-Gheorghe Balaban, 26, and Marius Nitu, 29, are likely to be deported by the border agency at the end of their sentence, St Albans crown court heard on Friday (December 1). The men, who used cash-trapping devices to steal customers’ money, appeared for sentence after admitting conspiracy to steal from ATMs, mainly at BP filling station, between July and October 2017. The cash claw used traps cash as it moves along a belt to be dispensed. The customer leaves empty-handed, but the thieves return later to remove the claw and the cash. Police began an investigation after Cardtronics reported that there had been several offences in Hertfordshire and surrounding areas. The two men, who were of no fixed address, were arrested on the A40 Western Avenue in Northolt. Nitu was driving a Citroen Belingo and Balaban was the passenger. There was a small screwdriver in the centre of the vehicle. Under the driver’s seat were a set of yellow and red pliers and three cash traps. A large bundle of cash traps, glue, a small screwdriver and a needle and thread were found in the overhead compartment. They got away with between £30 and £250 a time. Balaban admitted 31 offences and Nitu 24 offences. Among the garages targeted more than once were: BP Breakspear Way, Hemel Hempstead and BP High Street, Potters Bar Judge Andrew Bright QC said it was a ‘highly sophisticated operation’ and the two men were part of a wider conspiracy. The court heard that over several months, approximately 350 offences were taking place a month. He told them: “You were professional thieves, spending your whole day in full time employment stealing from ATM machines.” The judge said it was appropriate for the Border Agency to consider their deportation when they have served their sentence

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