A Romanian burglar who stole over £60,000 of property in break-ins in Watford was told by a judge on Friday, May 31 that he had abused the hospitality of this country.
Ion Tanase, who had convictions for robbery in Romania, was jailed for four years at St Albans crown court by Judge Stephen Warner who told him the Home Secretary will decide whether he should be deported at the end of his sentence.
Prosecutor Charles Judge said Tanase, who cycled in and around Watford to commit his crimes, was disturbed in one house when the 79-year-old resident returned home.
Tanase, 49, said: “Next door” to the victim when he was challenged before jumping over a fence and escaping. He had stolen bank cars, £120 cash and keys.
The police found a rucksack at the scene. Inside there was a leaflet with Tanase’s fingerprint on it.
At another address The Ridgeway he left a fingerprint on a window frame. He smashed a ground floor flat window at another property to gain entry before stealing £300 of property, again leaving a fingerprint on a jewellery box.
CCTV from neighbour properties, along with the fingerprint evidence, led to him being identified.
At one house on Cassiobury Drive he got in through an open bathroom window by clambering up on a wheelie bin. He stole jewellery and £600 worth of rupees, which he cashed in Watford.
Tanase of no fixed address, left the country at the end of April, but was arrested on his return on 4 May.
He appeared for sentence having earlier pleaded guilty to three domestic burglaries, theft, attempted burglary and converting criminal property.
Mr Judge said on May 7 and 8 he had accompanied the police on a drive around the area pointing out homes he had burgled over the course of seven months. He asked for 28 offences to be taken into consideration. He had five convictions in Romania, where he had served 5 years on two occasions for robbery.
When questioned he said he deserved to be punished and said he wanted his victims to know he was sorry. He said he was desperate at the time and had no money for shelter or food.
Kyan Pucks, defending, said he repeated his apology and wanted to go back to his wife and two sons in Romania.
She said: “He has pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity. He collaborated with the police. He was hungry at the time and needed to send money home.”
She said he had worked at a cleaner and pizza delivery man.
Jailing him, Judge Warner said: “Domestic burglary is a very serious offence. It involves an intrusion into people’s homes and a violation of their private and personal space.”
He said he had helped himself to other people’s property, which included sentimental items such as jewellery and photographs.
He went on: “You have abused the hospitality of this country by committing these serious offences.”
The judge said that deportation will be a matter for the Home Secretary.