Suffolk baby milk powder thieves found with 142 tubs worth £1,200 spared jail

The car boot full of baby milk stopped by police at Martlesham.

The car boot full of baby milk stopped by police at Martlesham. - Credit: Archant

A trio of thieves found with 142 tubs of baby milk powder worth £1,200 in their car after a shoplifting spree have been spared jail.

Mother-of-five Florenta Parolea, 39, Larisa Buse, 21, and Florin Ciocan, 24, were caught after committing the first theft in front of an off-duty police officer.

All three pleaded guilty before Ipswich magistrates to stealing a total of 37 tins of power from three shops in Woodbridge and Saxmundham.

The offences all occurred in just over an hour on Sunday afternoon.

Parolea gave her address in court as Broomfield Road, north London. Buse and Ciocan, who are also Romanian nationals, told the court they did not know their addresses but are believed to also live in London.

Prosecutor Colette Harper said the first theft occurred at 2.10pm in the Co-op in Hacheston Road, Woodbridge.

An off-duty police officer was in the shop at the time.

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Two women dressed in black and wearing headscarves entered the store and were seen to conceal items under their clothing.

They left the shop and got into a blue Vauxhall Vectra which Ciocan was driving.

The off-duty officer took a photograph of the car’s number plate and reported the theft to his on-duty colleagues.

The thieves stole six tubs of baby milk powder worth £55.44.

The second theft happened at 2.30pm at Waitrose in Saxmundham.

CCTV showed Parolea and Buse wear black clothing and headscarves go into the shop.

They selected 25 tubs of formula before leaving without paying.

The goods were worth £300.83.

The final theft occurred at the Co-op in Old Barrack Road, Woodbridge at 3pm.

This time they also took six tubs worth £55.44.

Police stopped the Vauxhall Vectra five minutes later.

Buse was in a rear seat and next to her was a bin liner full of baby formula.

When the boot of the car was opened it was also full of powder.

Magistrates were told there were 142 tubs in total – 39 Aptamil and 103 Cow and Gate.

The total value was £1,264.08.

The court heard the origin of the majority of the tubs has not been traced.

Buse and Parolea – who has children aged from two to 18 – had previous convictions for theft.

Terry Maddock, representing the trio, said the two women were cleaners and Ciocan was a carer for his mother.

Mr Maddock added: “Work has been a bit thin on the ground recently and they found themselves in the unfortunate position where they resorted to making ends meet in order to survive.

“Clearly that has not worked out for them.”

Parolea and Buse were sentenced to six weeks’ imprisonment suspended for 12 months. Ciocan was given four week’s imprisonment suspended for 12 months.

Each of the three must also pay a total of £165 in costs and a victim surcharge.