A senior Lincolnshire judge has warned Romanian criminals not to come to the UK.
Judge Sean Morris made his comments while expressing his frustration at being told the Romanian authorities are taking up to seven months to provide details of past crimes committed by their nationals.
The Recorder of Lincoln warned Romanian criminals face ‘languishing in jail’ until their own country provides the information and called on Whitehall and the police take up the matter urgently.
He said: “I don’t know what I can do. It really is in the political sphere. Something has to be done. I don’t know if we are going to have a lot of new customers. We have to have a system in place.”
“This is something the police at a senior level, the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice will have to take up.”
He said he had no choice but to adjourn sentencing a 28-year-old woman who was part of a travelling gang of Romanian thieves which targeted elderly victims at cash point machines across the Midlands.
“I do not deal with foreign criminals without knowing whether they have been in trouble in their own country,” he said.
“The message can go out that I will not deal with these people until I have full knowledge about their background and that means there will be Romanians who commit crime here and are left languishing in prison awaiting the confirmation of their previous convictions.”
“ The lesson is don’t come here and commit crime.”
Lincoln Crown Court heard police requested the convictions of Nicoleta Bala in September but don’t expect a response until the New Year.
Bala, who lives in Leicester, has admitted two distraction crimes in Lincolnshire and Staffordshire in November 2008. She returned to her home country only being rearrested earlier this year when she was picked up in checks on arrivals at Folkestone.
Prosecutor Andrew Scott said “This case was adjourned to obtain details of any convictions from Romania. That still isn’t available. The situation is bleak in that respect.”
“The officer has been told that even if this case were put to the top of the pile it would be six weeks. If it remains in its place it will be three to four months. The officer made the request in September. That is a Romanian problem.”