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Judge: Romanian men in NI on ‘criminal inspired tourist trip’ 

A judge at the Coleraine Magistrates Court has described four Romanian men, who are charged with commercial burglaries of goods worth more than £10,000, as being on a “criminally inspired tourist trip” to Northern Ireland. 

District Judge Peter King said that given the “compelling” evidence offered by the police in the case meant that he was not going to grant bail to the men.

“I have no hesitation in remanding the four into custody,” he said, before comparing the men to tourists on a trip, but tourists who were visiting petrol stations and Tesco counters with a view to carrying out crimes rather than seeing the sights.

“We have four men on a criminal inspired tourist trip to NI but instead of the Giants Causeway and Derry’s Walls, they have visited petrol stations and Tesco cigarette counters,” Judge King said.

The four men, named as Marcel Burghia (29), Viorel Lupoae (29), Nicusor Gheorghe (30) and Adrian Bursa (22) are all charged with burglary of the Mace store on Main Street in Toomebridge on 8 June and burglary of Tescos in Portstewart the following day.

Police opposed bail, saying the men, who are of no fixed abode, were a serious flight risk.

Three of the men were caught on CCTV removing a grid from the window of a Mace store in Toomebridge. Cigarettes and tobacco worth £10,000 were taken from the store.

Later that night – in the early hours of Friday morning  CCTV footage also showed three males using a crow bar to open the door of a Tesco store in Portstewart. Cigarettes, stamps and 20 mobile phones were stolen from the store.

The stolen goods were found the next day in a van and a Mercedes car, and the men were arrested.

The judge remanded all four into custody and adjourned the case to 11 July.

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