Brave Brighton shopkeeper dragged along road by thieves in getaway car

Posted On 24 Dec 2020 at 11:00 am

A brave shopkeeper from Brighton was attacked and then dragged along the road by a getaway car as he tried to stop three thieves stealing a £12,000 watch from him.

Winston Sutherland gave chase after two of the thieves – a man and a woman posing as a couple – stole a Rolex from Watches and Coins, in Oxford Street, Brighton.

But the pair sped off in a waiting Mercedes driven by another man, dragging Mr Sutherland along the road, a court was told.

Florentin Niculae, 46, and George Paun, 29, both of no fixed address, and Stela Sava, 23, of Boundary Road, London, all admitted theft at Lewes Crown Court.

Niculae also pleaded guilty to assault and Paun pleaded guilty to dangerous driving.

The three thieves, all Romanians, were jailed by Judge Janet Waddicor last Thursday (17 December).

Sussex Police said: “Police were called to the shop near London Road, Brighton, at 2.15pm on Wednesday 7 October to a report of three people taking a high-value watch before making off in a dark green Mercedes.

“Sava and Niculae went into the shop and asked to view various items while Paun waited outside in the Mercedes.

“While the owner of the shop was distracted, Sava took the expensive watch from the unlocked cabinet and both ran out of the shop without paying.

“The victim chased the suspects and attempted to stop them from stealing the watch, when he was assaulted by Niculae.

“He was then dragged along the ground as the car sped off while he was holding on to it.

“While paramedics attended to the victim, officers swiftly tracked the suspect vehicle travelling out of Brighton on the A23 as they attempted to get away.

The three occupants of the vehicle were arrested and the watch was recovered.

“Niculae was sentenced to 22 months’ imprisonment, Paun was sentenced to 20 months’ imprisonment and Sava was sentenced to four months’ imprisonment.”

George Paun, left, Florentin Niculae and Stela Sava

Investigator Rose Horan said: “This was a pre-meditated act by three thieves who chose to visit Brighton and deliberately target the victim’s shop.

“Not only did they steal a high-value Rolex watch, they also assaulted him in the process leaving him injured and extremely shaken.

“We are pleased the court has taken this matter seriously and served each of them with custodial sentences reflecting the harm they caused in this case.”

  1. Valerie Reply

    Deport them!

    • Hove Guy Reply

      Just what I was going to write. They should be deported immediately on release, following their rather feeble sentences. Hopefully, with Brexit just around the corner, we should be able to kick out foreign criminals once and for all.

    • Colin Reply

      Agree entirely. Despite many genuine people migrating into country, several have come to abuse our laws. So why are we paying to keep them in prison. Deport them and ban them for life.

  2. Clyde Cash Reply

    More ‘enrichment’. Will they be deported? The simple answer is NO

  3. Edward Paul Campbell Reply

    It will cost the British taxpayer twice the value of the Rolex for each of them serving each year in prison. Makes perfect economic sense. A COVID-compliant plane ticket back to Romania under guard would be a more intelligent response.for these ambassadors from Romania.

    • benji Reply

      The second largest number of “foreign criminals” in UK jails are Irish who have the right under the UK “common travel area” to come here (and vice versa) after Brexit so won’t make much difference.

      The numbers of UK criminals in EU jails are pretty much the same as EU criminals here, at 4,144 EEA nationals out of 82,990 total UK prisoners, not a large number, around 5%, these are July 2020 figures, easy to Google and find it at the UK Parliament website!

      Any sentence over 4 yrs, there has been an EU agreement since 2011 to have them serve them in jails in their own countries, just needs the wishy washy UK courts to give them longer sentences!

      However the VAST majority of the 3.6 million EU citizens here are law abiding, decent people, just like the millions of British “immigrants” abroad in the EU.

  4. Ann McDonnell Reply

    They MUST be deported! They’re already costing us a fortune to be held in jail.

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