Jailed shoplifter was part of gang
A woman jailed for 10 weeks for stealing goods worth almost £900 from a supermarket was acting as part of a criminal gang, a court heard.
Irina Doda (24), listed of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to theft after taking £893.64 worth of "high-value" items from Sainsbury's, at Grove Road Triangle, Enderby.
A hearing at Leicester Magistrates' Court heard police were called to the store on Monday.
Prosecutor Louise Cox said: "She was seen stealing a number of high-value spirits totalling just under £900 and placed them into a holdall bag inside her shopping trolley, hiding it under other groceries.
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"She left the store but was detained outside."
Ms Cox said the home address Doda gave police, in Hounslow, London, matched that of Sergiu Mihai Domide, of The Alders, Hounslow, London, also arrested on suspicion of shoplifting, at a Tesco store in Leicester, on Monday.
She said police in south-west London had intelligence that the house was being used as a squat and base for a criminal enterprise.
"It is the prosecution case that this defendant was part of a gang and that the gang resided at an address in Hounslow, London," she said.
"This morning, my colleague dealt with another member of the gang.
"He was sentenced to 16 weeks in prison – our case being that on this day the gang targeted Leicester.
"The Crown say this was not an isolated theft, but part of an organised operation."
Kathrine Christenson, defending, said her client denied being part of a gang and said she acted alone, having travelled to Leicester by train.
She said: "Her intention was to steal to fund her train back to London and sell the items and provide money for her young children and family in Romania."
Sentencing Doda, District Judge John Temperley said: "I don't accept the explanation you've given me.
"I'm quite certain this was well planned and that you and a male dealt with by another court this morning came to Leicester together."
"The offence is so serious only a term of imprisonment is justified."
Domide (21) had earlier pleaded guilty to stealing food and drink from Tesco to the value of £621.23.
He had been in the country for three weeks and was on bail for another theft at the time of the offence.