A SHOPLIFTER who attempted to walk out of Huntingdon Tesco with a trolley full of vodka has escaped a jail term.

Marius Pascu, 22, of Kettering Road, Northampton, filled a trolley with 36 litre bottles of Smirnoff Vodka and some other items worth more than £600 on June 29.

Giles Beaumont, prosecuting, said: "He was detained after leaving without paying and didn't have any money with him or a bank card.

"He lived in Hounslow and went shopping and found himself in Huntingdon, not knowing where he was, and had gone into Tesco, filled up a trolley and hadn't realised he had no money. He said he had made some sort of mistake."

Nick Symonds, defending, said it was Pascu's first time in trouble and panicked, giving officers a "cock and bull" story. "He was looking for work in the area and someone told him that he could make money by selling alcohol," he told the court. "He has a daughter back in Romania and he was trying to make some money to send back but he has struggled."

He was given a conditional discharge for 24 months at Huntingdon Law Courts on Thursday (August 9).

On the same day, two Romanian men were jailed for stealing £237 worth of alcohol and food from Sainsbury's in Huntingdon.

Cristian Bira and Florin Pilica, both of Brickwell Court, Northampton, were caught trying to get out of the store at 5.15pm on August 3.

Mr Beaumont said the two men had entered the store with the intention of stealing and Bira, 42, had been conditionally discharged for an offence in Kent, and was currently on bail to a court in London, both for shoplifting.

The court heard how Bira's co-defendent Pilica, 41, had been convicted of shoplifting in June.

The magistrates at Huntingdon Law Courts gave the Romanians 42 days in prison. Bira was also given a 10-day sentence for his previous offence in Kent to run concurrently.