Lithuanian jailed for spate of thefts from Tesco stores

A 21-year-old Lithuanian national who stole or attempted to steal items from a number of Tesco stores across Northern Ireland over an eight-day period has been jailed.

Tuesday, 29th January 2019, 4:22 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 7:39 pm
The thefts from the Tesco stores happened over an eight-day period last February

Domingkas Svilpa, of no fixed abode, was handed a 23-month sentence which will be divided equally between custody and licence, after he admitted 11 offences committed last February.

Belfast Crown Court heard that Svilpa hadn’t lived in Northern Ireland for long before he began experiencing financial difficulties.

As a result, he became involved with others in stealing or attempting to steal goods from various Tesco stores Province-wide.

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A barrister for Svilpa revealed that when he has served his sentence, he intends to return to Lithuania.

Crown prosecutor Philip Henry said that from February 14 to February 21 2018, Svilpa and another man not before the court targeted Tesco stores including Belfast, Dungannon, Lisburn, Newtownabbey, Lurgan, Crumlin, Cookstown and Limavady.

Apart from one occasion where he stole groceries, the items taken by Svilpa were razor blades and ink cartridges, with the prosecutor revealing the thefts amounted to just over £10,000.

Mr Henry said Svilpa was arrested when a security guard at one of the stores recognised him as being a wanted shoplifter.

While Svilpa made ‘no comment’ during police interviews, he later admitted eight counts of theft and three counts of attempted theft.

Defence barrister Luke Curran described his client as a “hard-working young man” who came to Northern Ireland with the hope of finding work, but who fell on hard times after a month.

Mr Curran said his client then became involved with another man, and they visited Tesco stores to steal goods.