13th November, 2012 by Andy Young
Two thieves have been convicted of stealing beer kegs worth £76,000.
Toma Ciorba and Diana Ciorba were sentenced on 12 November for handling stolen goods worth £76,000 after pleading guilty to the offence at Wood Green Crown Court.
Toma Ciorba, 20, was sentenced to 16 months in prison, while his wife was given a 12 month sentence which was suspended for two years. She will also ordered to complete 100 hours of community service.
The sentence also included a recommendation that the pair, who are both Romanian nationals, be deported.
Metropolitan police officers arrested the Ciorbas after receiving intelligence that beer kegs were being stored in shipping containers at two sites in north London.
Officers recovered 888 stolen kegs from the two sites. Depending on the size, each individual beer keg is worth between approximately £65 and £165.
Officers from Haringey worked closely with brewing industry watchdog “Kegwatch” during the operation.
Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said: “We are grateful to the Metropolitan Police Service and other police forces across the country, who continue to focus on keg and cask theft in the course of their metal theft investigations.
“Keg theft is a serious problem for our industry. We will continue to work in close partnership with the police, other law enforcement and commercial partners to put a stop to it.”
The Ciorbas acquired the kegs from various unnamed sources and some of the kegs have been identified as having been stolen from public houses in North London, Essex and Hertfordshire.
Detective sergeant Daryl Keogh, from the Metropolitan Police, said: “Keg theft is a serious problem nationally. This was reflected during sentence, when the judge described the operation as ‘sophisticated and serious criminality’.
“My hope that this custodial sentence will act as a warning to others who see keg theft as an easy target.”