A PAIR of Lithuanian nationals have been jailed after stealing £900 of goods from a South Tyneside supermarket.
Paulius Sodelka, 19, and Edgaras Veremciukas, 22, took a haul of fragrances, razors and cosmetics from the shelves of Asda Boldon on Wednesday, before going into changing rooms in the store and switching the items from shopping baskets into Asda bags.
The two men, who both live in Manchester but were unable to recall an exact address at the hearing, were arrested after leaving the store and appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court from custody.
The court heard that Sodelka had been released from a six-week jail sentence for a shop theft in Manchester just days before the offence at Asda Boldon.
Veremciukas had been given a conditional discharge last month for a shop theft at Bury and Rochdale Magistrates’ Court.
Sodelka was jailed for 10 weeks – reduced from 15 weeks due to his guilty plea – with Veremciukas handed a six-week sentence, cut from nine due to his guilty plea.
Neither man speaks English and both required a translator to relay the charges put to them and give their pleas. Both pleaded guilty to a charge of shop theft.
Jeanette Smith, prosecuting, said: “At 11.30am on Wednesday at Asda Boldon, both men separately put items into baskets.
“They then separately went into changing rooms to transfer the items into Asda Bags for Life.
“After leaving the store without paying, they were apprehended outside by police officers.
“The goods, worth £900 in total, were recovered.”
Defending, Geoffrey Forrester, admitted custodial sentences for the pair were ‘inevitable’ but asked for their early guilty pleas to be taken into consideration.
Mr Forrester said: “The defendants both realise there are serious aggravating features.
“There is no suggestion they caused any problems to any members of staff (at the supermarket).
“I have explained to both of them that the reality of the situation is that custody is inevitable.”
Chairman of the Magistrates, Glynn Lister, told both men that their offences had crossed the custody threshold.
Mr Lister said: “You have both pleaded guilty to shop theft.
“It is obvious from the goods that were taken that they were stolen for profit and not for your own use.
“It was a high-value theft.
“The exchange in the dressing room showed a degree of sophistication and planning. A custodial sentence is the only one we can pass.”