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£5,000 worth of Holland & Barrett probiotics stolen from five stores in 24-hours

Police have charged a suspect following a 24-hour theft spree involving a string of Holland and Barrett food stores.

Five separate Holland and Barrett shops across Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire were all targeted on the same day.

Nearly £5,000 worth of probiotics and other health items were stolen during trading hours on 12 November 2023.

Stores in Nottingham city centre, Sherwood, Beeston, and Mansfield, along with one in Loughborough, all fell victim to the theft spree.

Two more Holland and Barrett shops – in Hinckley, Leicestershire, and Crewe, Cheshire – also had items taken on 11 November and 13 November.

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Before this happened, another store in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, had also been targeted, with thieves again making off with health products.

Eight Holland & Barrett shops had stock stolen during the cross-border spree in total, with the stores losing around £9,000 worth of items between them.

Police have now charged Ilie Varnescu with all eight offences, along with a ninth theft from a Co-Op store in Egremont, Cumbria, on 21 October 2023.

The 50-year-old suspect, of Billesley, Birmingham, appeared at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday (5 March), where he was remanded in custody.

He is next due to appear at Nottingham Crown Court on 2 April 2024.

PC Abby Pinnock, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “Thousands of pounds worth of items were stolen during this theft spree, which saw eight different stores from the same chain targeted.

“While most were based in Nottinghamshire, shops in Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Cheshire also had stock taken during these incidents, which we believe to be linked.

“Despite these offences taking place across county borders, we have now been able to charge a suspect and put them before the courts, so we’re very pleased with this outcome.”

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