The 14 Words

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Judge: ‘You can get in and out of this country. The borders are like a sieve,’

Britain's borders are ‘like a sieve’, a senior judge declared yesterday as he warned Romanian criminals not to come to Britain on January 1. The Recorder of Lincoln, Judge Sean Morris, raised the prospect that the courts could face a surge of foreign offenders when controls on Romania and Bulgaria are abandoned 13 days from now.

He expressed frustration at delays of six months and longer to obtain criminal records from the Romanian authorities and called on ministers to do something about it. His comments came as he delayed sentencing of a Romanian woman who was part of a gang which targeted elderly men using cash machines.

He said he would not sentence Nicoleta Bala – who now has a child born in Britain – until he received her criminal history from her home country. He said any Romanian criminals would ‘languish’ in prison awaiting sentence until he knew what their criminal past was.
‘You can get in and out of this country. The borders are like a sieve,’ he told Lincoln Crown Court.
‘I do not deal with foreign criminals without knowing whether they have been in trouble in their own country.
‘If the fact is that people come over here from Romania to commit crime they cannot complain.
‘The message can go out that I will not deal with these people until I have full knowledge about their background. The lesson is – don’t come here and commit crime.’
On the delays in obtaining records he added: 
‘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. This is something that the police at a senior level, the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice are going to have to take up.’
Bala, 28, who lives in Leicester, was in a gang which stole PINs and bank cards from elderly men using cash machines in the Midlands.

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