Two men jailed for three years for theft of 38 phones

Two men jailed for three years for theft of 38 phones


Facts and Sentence

On 27th January 2016 the popular music group The Libertines were due to give a musical performance in Birmingham. Alert police officers were drawn to two men acting suspiciously; Emanuel Paraschiv and Marius Buzur.

It seems that they had intelligence from previous concerts where thieves were targeting mobile phones (it’s not suggested that it was these two).

When they searched Mr Paraschiv and Mr Buzur, they found that both had taped one of their trouser legs to the sock and Mr Paraschiv had 38 mobile phones stuffed down it.

Both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal (presumably, given the dates, at about the earliest opportunity) and were sentenced on 1st March 2016 to 3 years imprisonment each.



This provides a good reminder that not all cases are governed by the Sentencing Guidelines. Here it would the Theft Guidelines that applied

On the face of it’s, probably a Category 3 offence for Harm, and B for Culpability. This gives a starting point of a Community Order, with a range of up to 6 months (see page 6).

Here, allowing full credit for a plea, this gives a starting point of 4½ years, which would be at the top of Category 1A.

The offending is one that does seem one where the guidelines don’t apply (it’s one of the problems with the new Guidelines) given the offending.

Even so, this does seem a very steep sentence, and we would have thought a starting point of about 3 years after a trial, which would give a sentence here of 2 years.

So, although this is not a ‘Guideline Case’, we would still expect an appeal*, and would not be surprised if they get a bit knocked off…


*nb – first draft of this pieces referred to ’email’ rather than ‘appeal’.

Dan is a barrister at 2 Dr. Johnson’s Buildings practising in crime.


  1. I’m probably missing something but why wouldn’t the guidelines apply in this case? Is it because of the number of phones stolen, i.e. each theft is individually pretty minor but lots of low-level offences add up to a high-level one? Even so moving it from category 3B to 1A seems a hefty upgrade in severity.

    • It’s a conspiracy to steal, rather than a theft (although some attention should be paid to the guidelines).