Keg Watch: Romanian pair convicted of theft of beer kegs worth £76k

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Crime

A Romanian pair were this week convicted of theft after police seized 888 stolen beer kegs worth £76k
A Romanian pair were this week convicted of theft after police seized 888 stolen beer kegs worth £76k
A Romanian pair were this week convicted of theft after police, working with trade association Keg Watch, seized 888 stolen beer kegs worth £76k.

Toma and Diana Ciorba, aged 19 and 20, had stolen a number of beer kegs since they first arrived in the UK including from pubs in North London, Essex and Hertfordshire.

After pleading guilty to the offence, the married couple, who both live in Tottenham, were convicted of theft on Monday at Wood Green Crown Court. Toma was sentenced to 16 months in prison while Diana was given a 12-month suspended sentence and ordered to serve 100 hours of community punishment.

Both now face a possible return to Romania after the court recommended deportation for the pair.

Keg theft

The conviction is the latest development in a growing trend of theft of beer kegs, casks and gas cylinders from hospitality businesses and pubs. Thieves steal the items because of their scrap metal value and the industry has become so blighted by the theft a trade association - Keg Watch - has been formed to reduce losses as a result of the crime.

"Keg theft is a serious problem for our industry," Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said as she welcomed the conviction of the Ciorba pair.

"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.

"We will continue to work in close partnership with the police, other law enforcement and commercial partners to put a stop to it," she added.

Replacement value

This latest conviction came about as a result of a tip-off from Keg Watch in January which officers from Haringey followed up by seizing stainless steel beer kegs which were being stored in shipping containers at two sites in Tottenham and Edmonton. 

The pair were both arrested at the Tottenham storage site as some of the kegs were being loaded onto a lorry.

On sale for its scrap metal value, the casks can fetch between £65 and £165.

According to the Keg Watch website, the organisation has so far helped to recover nearly 60,000 kegs with a resale value of nearly £4.5m.

Detective Sergeant Daryl Keogh for the Metropolitan Police Service said: "Keg theft is a serious problem nationally. This was reflected during sentence, when the judge described the operation as 'sophisticated and serious criminality'."

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