Eight jailed for string of burglaries in South Wales
Three men and five women from Romania have been sentenced to a total of 24 years in jail for burgling small shops in South Wales.
The eight people, all Romanian, netted more than £170,000 worth of cash and valuables in five months.
One member of the gang would distract the shopkeeper while another burgled the living quarters.
The judge at Merthyr Crown Court yesterday said they had been involved in "a conspiracy of sophistication and determination".
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At least 14 shops were targetted in Wales during February and March, mainly in the South Wales valleys but also in Cardiff, Carmarthenshire, and Newport.
The total haul included jewellery worth approximately £128,000 and about £41,000 in cash, along with laptops, mobile phones and sat nav equipment.
South Wales Police put a team of officers together after six virtually identical incidents were reported in the valleys and Merthyr Tydfil.
Stores were targetted in Cardiff, Carmarthen, Llandeilo, Ammanford, Neath, Merthyr Tydfil, Treforest, Pontypridd, Abercynon, Mountain Ash and Newport.
Those sentenced for conspiracy to commit burglary were: Loreena Belcu (four years); Catalina Chiciu (three years, six months), Elena Iordache (three years, four months), Cerasela Mihalache (three years, four months), Constantin Lazarica (three years), Viorel Velcu (two years, eight months), Ciprian Stavarache (two years, four months), and Loredana Baceanu (two years).