A ROMANIAN shoplifter avoided deportation by claiming he wanted to work as a shepherd in a former mill town.
Marian Anghel, 59, had been caught stealing £600 worth of goods from a supermarket.
He was wearing a suit but told police that he had come to Nelson, Lancs, to look for work rounding up sheep.
Anghel claimed he had left his “shepherd’s clothes” at home 70 miles away when he came to the town, which has a population of 30,000.
He admitted theft at Burnley magistrates court but escaped jail with community service, an 18-week curfew and £320 in fines and costs.
Police had applied for a deportation certificate and this was supported by magistrates who found the Romanian’s story „rather unbelievable”.
However a district judge decided not to deport Anghel who had arrived in the UK six months ago.
Offenders from the European Union can be deported if they are given two-year jail sentences or one year if they are convicted of sex or drug offences.
Romanians have to prove they are „actively looking for work” to take advantage of the EU’s freedom of movement laws.