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Prolific shoplifter sentenced after absconding from prison vehicle

A prolific shoplifter who absconded from a prison vehicle has been jailed after he was captured in Hoole.

Paul Lupu, of Burnley Lane, Chadderton, appeared at Chester Crown Court on Tuesday 6 February, where he was sentenced to one year and ten months in prison.

The 20-year-old was identified after stealing a number of high value items from two stores in Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet on Tuesday 5 December 2023.

The stolen items were valued at approximately £3,096.

Lupu returned to Cheshire Oaks three days later, on Friday 8 December, and attempted to steal from a third store.

However, he was recognised by security who quickly informed police.

A search of the area was conducted and Lupu was arrested and subsequently charged with two counts of theft.

On Monday 11 December 2023, Lupu was remanded in custody following a court appearance at Chester Magistrates’ Court and was due to be transported to Altcourse Prison at around 3.15pm that day.

He was placed in a cell within the prison van. During the journey, Lupu started to cover a CCTV camera with tissue, obstructing the prison officer’s view of his cell.

They stopped the van and opened Lupu’s cell door in order to take the tissue from him, but he forced himself passed them. After a struggle, Lupu made off on foot.

An extensive search of the area was carried out, with support from NPAS, police dogs, and the Drone Unit.

Lupu was arrested by officers at around 6.45pm in the Fairford Road area of Hoole and was subsequently charged with escaping from lawful custody and two counts of assaulting an emergency worker.  

Chief Inspector Paul Fegan said:

“Lupu stole quantities of high value items on a number of occasions, and his reckless behaviour since his initial arrest shows he holds no regard for the law.

“I welcome the sentence to Lupu, who is now behind bars where he belongs.”

“This case demonstrates our determination to ensure that offenders are held accountable for their actions. Those travelling into Cheshire to commit crime are not welcome and will be pursued.”

Pictured - Paul Lupu of Burnley Lane in Chadderton.

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