An illegal entrant who stole sentimental jewellery when he burgled the home of a pensioner couple just months after he re-entered the country after taking a ‘cavalier’ attitude to UK law.

Leonard Stan was kicked out of the country in 2020 after he was jailed for his role in a gang responsible for stealing mobile phone and digital tablets.

The 29-year-old illegally entered the UK in February under an alias before returning to the Teesside area to live with his wife and five children, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Victoria Lamballe, prosecuting, said the Romanian national had also been jailed for almost four years for a series of robberies and attempted robberies when he was living in Germany.

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Dealing with his latest offence, Miss Lamballe said Stan had crept into the pensioners’ Billingham home to raid the woman’s jewellery box stealing sentimental items from her husband and heirlooms from her mother.

She added the burglar was caught on the couple’s CCTV security system entering the house before leaving five minutes later with more than £3,500 worth of jewellery which has never been recovered.

“She realised that a large quantity of jewellery was missing including, significantly, sentimental items she had inherited from her mother. Her husband’s watch was also missing.”

In a victim impact statement, the pensioner said she had been left devastated by the theft of her sentimental jewellery, including numerous rings and bracelets she had been given by her husband since they met when she was 16.

The Northern Echo: Leonard StanLeonard Stan (Image: Cleveland Police)

Stan, of Brompton Street, Middlesbrough, pleaded guilty to burglary which occurred on August 21 this year, and illegally entering the UK in breach of a deportation order.

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Gary Wood, mitigating, said his client claimed that he didn’t realise the deportation order was indefinite and had stayed out of the country for two years before returning to live with his family.

He added: “He has no issues with alcohol but in the past he has had issues with drugs and his mental health. He says he re-entered the country to support his wife and kids.”

Judge Stephen Ashurst sentenced Stan to a total of three years for both offences after he took a ‘cavalier’ attitude to UK law and said there must have been some planning involved in the burglary after targeting the pensioners’ home.

He said: “You went straight to their bedroom and raided the jewellery box next to her bed. You have taken extremely valuable and sentimental items of jewellery.”