Published: 00:00, 14 March 2016
| Updated: 10:08, 14 March 2016
Two Romanians allegedly caught shoplifting in the same store on the same day and at the same time were both wearing women’s swimwear but neither knew each other, a court heard.
The two cases came before Judge Jeremy Carey at Maidstone Crown Court and when told that neither man knew each other before the start of the criminal proceedings against them, he remarked that it must have been an “extraordinary coincidence”.
He also heard that both men had "commuted" from their homeland for the court hearings.
Vlad Codreanu, 30, denies theft of clothing from John Lewis at Bluewater on October 28 last year.
Valentine Craciun, 36, denies theft of clothing and going equipped for theft on the same occasion. It is alleged he was found with magnetic detaggers.
During separate plea and case management hearings, prosecutor Tim Starkey said: “It would appear these two men were shoplifting in the same store on the same day and at the same time and both wearing ladies’ swimming costumes. That is the Crown’s case.”
Codreanu later claimed he was wearing the swimwear because he feels the cold, while Craciun said he suffers from a bad back.
Both men were represented by the same barrister, who told the court that, “in his experience”, the swimwear seemed "somewhat unisex”.
The cases were both adjourned for trials in July, but Judge Carey said any application to link them must be made by March 31.
Codreanu and Craciun, who each elected trial at crown court when they appeared at earlier magistrates’ court hearings, were released on bail with a condition not to go to Bluewater.