A CHAMPAGNE thief has been jailed for half a year at York Magistrates Court for a series of raids on upmarket food stores across the country.

Grigore Alamaru, 44, travelled to York from his West Midlands home to raid Marks and Spencer in Parliament Street.

But he was spotted as he and Florentin Dragomir, 35, stole food items worth £411.56 from the store on May 26 and arrested.

Alamaru was on the run at the time from Liverpool Magistrates Court where he faced a charge of stealing champagne worth £257 from Marks and Spencer in Bromborough, Merseyside, on November 17, and on a conditional discharge for stealing eight bottles of champagne and food worth together £501.40 from Waitrose in Sevenoaks, Kent.

Alamaru, of Selborne Street, Walsall, pleaded guilty to the York and Bromborough thefts, and failure to attend Liverpool Magistrates Court on April 8 and was found guilty of assaulting a man in Bromborough on the same day as the Merseyside theft and was resentenced for the Sevenoaks theft. He was jailed for 26 weeks.

In addition to the jail term he was ordered to pay £50 compensation to the assault victim, a £128 statutory surcharge and £85 prosecution costs.

Dragomir, of Dora Street, Walsall, admitted the York and Sevenoaks theft and was given an 18-month community order with a three-month curfew, 20 days’ rehabilitative activities and 50 hours’ unpaid work.