A THIEF who wore a one-piece women's Speedo swimming outfit back to front during three raids on rural businesses has been jailed.
Emil Brasoveanu (27) of Dun Leinn, Monivea, Co Galway, was a member of a three-strong Romanian 'Speedo' gang who went on a crime spree across west Clare on December 17 last.
At Ennis District Court, Judge Patrick Durcan jailed Brasoveanu (27) for 12 months after stating that he was part of a gang that had carried out "commercial tyranny" on the business people in west Clare.
Romanian-born Brasoveanu was one of three offenders who Judge Durcan said had engaged in a callous, organised and planned assault of a number of businesses on December 17.
The court heard that during the raids, Brasoveanu wore the women's one-piece Speedo outfit back to front to collect stolen cosmetics goods worth hundreds of euro from two Clare pharmacies.
At a court date prior to Christmas, Sgt Ronan O'Hara said: "I had never seen anything like it before. Emil was wearing it back to front and the ingenuity of it was that, by wearing it back to front, he could conceal more.
"He was wearing a jacket over it and the items were being gathered up before being put down the swimsuit."
Brasoveanu was before the court yesterday after having a five-month suspended jail term activated in Cork City District Court on January 2.
The sentence imposed yesterday by Judge Durcan is to run consecutive to the five-month jail term.
Last month, Judge Durcan imposed two 12-month sentences on married couple Anton Makula (26) and Anca Grancea (23) of Cluain Rocaird, Headford Road, Galway city, for their role in the offences. All three had pleaded guilty to various theft charges on three businesses in west Clare.
Judge Durcan told the court: "You cannot have people perpetrating these crimes against the retail sector when it is on its knees."
When sentencing Mr Brasoveanu's accomplices last month, Judge Durcan said: "They came into this county in an organised way in their silver Rover.
"They stopped at McCrotty's pharmacy in Ennistymon, where they stole. They went on to the Post Office in Miltown Malbay, where they stole, and they went on to Williams's pharmacy in Kilkee, where they stole."
He added: "But for the work of the gardai, their actions were putting jobs on the line and businesses in jeopardy and were leading to a situation where a community could be deprived of very valuable services."