TWO thieves are to serve longer jail sentences for a series of distraction burglaries in Worcestershire.

Bogdan Vranceanu, 31, and Atena Calin, 20, both pleaded guilty to five counts of theft when they appeared at Telford Magistrates Court on Monday, November 7.

Both were already serving prison time, after pleading guilty to similar counts of theft in September.

Magistrates heard that 10 people had purses stolen in distraction thefts while shopping in supermarkets in Malvern, Droitwich, Kidderminster, Evesham and Hereford.

In most cases Calin distracted victims by making conversation, while Vranceanu covered the handbag various items including magazines, pizza and a loaf of bread, to steal the purse from the bag.

The pair were stopped by police on the M54, heading towards Birmingham, on September 26.

Vranceanu had 24 weeks added to his previous sentence of 24 weeks, while 12 weeks was added Calin's 12 weeks she is currently serving, by magistrates.

Detective Sergeant Julie Shephard said: "Vranceanu and Calin are skilled fraudsters.

"Well versed in deception, they managed to distract their victims and steal purses containing money and bank cards, loyalty and membership cards, driving licences and some personal photographs.

"They carefully planned these thefts, targeting different areas in an attempt not to be detected.

"We will be working with the Immigration Service around their deportation to Romania once their sentences have been served.

"It should be safe for us to go shopping and about our daily business but the reality is there are people looking to take advantage - it only takes seconds for them to strike and they are gone before you even realise anything is missing."

Police advise the public to always make sure their purse or wallet is easily accessible, to be aware of what is going on and to always keep bags and belonging close while shopping.