Stolen Chewing Gum to Romania's Aid

Hundreds of pounds worth of chewing gum is being allegedly stolen from British supermarkets by organized gangs to use as currency in Romania, police said on Monday. Chewing gum and other small packets of sweets are commonly offered instead of small change by shopkeepers according to a police officer who has investigated the thefts.

LONDON: Hundreds of pounds worth of chewing gum is being allegedly stolen from British supermarkets by organized gangs to use as currency in Romania, police said on Monday. Chewing gum and other small packets of sweets are commonly offered instead of small change by shopkeepers according to a police officer who has investigated the thefts.

David Walton of West Mercia Police, said it was a growing problem for supermarkets across the Midlands and North Yorkshire, the BBC reported. On January 16, two Romanian nationals were jailed for stealing £800 worth of chewing gum from stores in Worcester the previous day.

Worcester magistrates ordered Constantin Barbu, 31, and Bogan-Constantin Panait, 23, both from Hounslow in London, to spend seven days in prison after they pleaded guilty to stealing chewing gum from supermarkets . Walton said it was a "widespread problem" with the first case he became aware of happening in April 2011. "They always have a vehicle outside, they never use public transport and they target stores on retail parks." He said Sainsburys and Asda stores had particularly been targeted in Shropshire along with a Morrison's store.