Empty work promise led builder to steal alcohol

Marian Goga stole almost �3,000 of alcohol from Sainsbury's Warren Heath, near Ipswich. Picture: PHI

Marian Goga stole almost �3,000 of alcohol from Sainsbury's Warren Heath, near Ipswich. Picture: PHIL MORLEY - Credit: Archant

A Romanian builder stole almost £3,000 of alcohol from a Suffolk branch of Sainsbury’s to fund a ticket home after failing to find work in the UK.

Marian Goga tried to leave the Warren Heath store, near Ipswich, with a trolley full of 106 spirit bottles on Monday evening.

Appearing on video link from Martlesham Heath police investigation centre, the 22-year-old wept throughout his hearing before Ipswich magistrates yesterday.

Speaking through an interpreter, he pleaded guilty to stealing £2779.80 worth of alcohol.

Prosecutor Tess Mann said Goga entered the store with two other men and was seen pushing a trolley lined with items of clothing at about 6pm.

“One of the other men took bottles from the shelves and put them in the trolley,” she added.

“The other appeared to act as lookout.

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“Eventually, the two other men left the store, and the defendant was stopped by a member of staff as he pushed the trolley towards the doors.”

Goga told police he entered the UK a month ago in search of building work, but had been unsuccessful and hoped to use the proceeds of his crime to fund a ticket home.

Unable to recall his London address, or the surname of the person he lived with, Goga told police he was driven to Ipswich by car on the day of the offence.

The other two men, he told police, were to be responsible for selling the stolen items.

Duty solicitor Jo Paton said Goga was a man of previous good character, who had made full admissions of guilt at the first opportunity.

“It seems he was given the riskiest role of the three men – that of pushing the goods out of the store,” she added.

“Mr Goga had been promised help to find work.

“When one of the other men involved was unable to find him work as promised, Mr Goga said he would like to return Romania.

“He was told that would only be possible if he helped take the bottles from the shop.

“He accepts he wasn’t forced into it, but he feels very upset by the position he finds himself in.

“He says he came to this country to work, not to steal.”

Magistrates said Goga had been part of a planned operation to steal a high value of goods from the store. They sentenced him to six weeks in prison.

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