Holland and Barrett shoplifter targeted five shops in one day in probiotic stealing spree

Career shoplifter Ilie Varnescu has been jailed
Career shoplifter Ilie Varnescu has been jailed -Credit:Nottinghamshire Police

A shoplifter posed as a customer to steal probiotics and other items from five branches of Holland and Barrett in the same day. Ilie Varnescu went to stores in Nottingham city centre, Sherwood, Beeston, Mansfield, and Loughborough on November 12 last year.

He walked into the stores, took the items and walked out without paying, stealing a total of £5,000 of stock. Varnescu, from School Road, Billesley, Birmingham, had also targeted stores in Chesterfield and Hinckley, Leicestershire, on November 3 and November 12; Crewe a day later, and Lancaster on March 3, 2024.

Varnescu also shoplifted from a Co-op store in Egremont, Cumbria, on October 21, 2023. He stole £9,000 of stock from the 10 shops before being tracked down and charged with 10 counts of theft, which he admitted in court.

He was sentenced to three years in prison at Nottingham Crown Court on May 7. PC Abby Pinnock, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “Varnescu is a career shoplifter who knew exactly what he was doing when he decided to target each of these stores.

“In the space of one day alone, he swiped thousands of pounds of probiotics and other health items from the shelves of five different shops. This was part of a spree that saw Varnescu steal from 10 separate stores – nine of which were from the same chain – and pocket more than £9,000 worth of stock.

“Shoplifting is a plague on the high street that can have huge implications on people’s livelihoods, while also impacting how much people have to pay for items too. Bearing all of this in mind, we were delighted to see the judge in this case impose such a hefty sentence on Varnescu.”