Pair on stolen goods charges are granted bail

Ballymena Courthouse. INBT02-213AC

Ballymena Courthouse. INBT02-213AC

A COUPLE facing a charge of handling stolen goods have been allowed to fly to their home country of Romania on holiday.

The pair had 120 items of clothing worth £1,100 in their Ballymena home and claimed they were not stolen and instead were gifts to bring to family members in Romania.

Remus Berchi (46), a meat factory worker, and Simona Nicoletta Rostas (31) - both of the same address at Toome Road - appeared side by side in the dock at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday.

Both accused are charged with handling 118 items of stolen goods on September 13 this year.

Rostas alone faces four separate charges - theft of a bra; theft of four pairs of trousers worth £45 from H&M Ballymena on the same date and the theft of a pair of shoes worth £45 from Marks & Spencer in April this year.

In court on Thursday, District Judge Peter King said he was allowing the couple to travel on a holiday to Romania from Saturday September 24 to October 8 as they had lodged the sum of £2,000 for bail which more than covered the price of the alleged stolen items.

Defence solicitor Stewart Ballentine told the same court the previous week the price tags were still on the clothes as that was the practice in the culture of the defendants to show the goods were not second hand.

Mr Ballentine said the September 24 flight had been booked months ago and he claimed the clothing, which was mostly for children, had been bought over a period of time.

Police discovered the clothing after going to the Toome Road house after Rostas was allegedly caught stealing a £14 bra from Marks & Spencer.

The case has been further adjourned to October 20.