A FACTORY worker claimed he stole various items from two city shops to pay the rent after his housemates all moved out.

David Cobzaru stole sunglasses and a wallet from TK MAXX and earphones, toiletries and charging cables from B&M on July 28 and September 26, respectively, totalling around £140.

The 24-year-old, originally from Romania, was living with three others from the same country but the others all decided to move back home, magistrates heard last week.

This left Cobzaru – who was unemployed at the time – struggling to pay the rent on the Rainbow Hill property they had shared.

Kerry Lovegrove, prosecuting, said the defendant had gone into TK MAXX, in High Street, Worcester, at around 4pm and was spotted by staff picking up items before leaving without paying.

A month later, Cobzaru went into B&M in St Martin’s Quarter, Worcester, at around 3.30pm picking up items and removing the tags before leaving the store.

Ian Parsons, defending, said his client came to the UK in 2017 to work, but had had to leave his job “due to health problems” – though is now working permanently at a plumbing parts factory.

The solicitor said after Cobzaru’s housemates went back to Romania he had no way of paying the rent leading him to steal because he “needed some money”.

Mr Parsons said the defendant has “no drug or alcohol issues” and has since moved out of the accommodation to live with a friend, initially for free, but now he is paying rent.

He said Cobzaru now has “no reason” to steal again.

Ms Lovegrove, however, went on to say that while the defendant stole items that would be “easy to sell on” – he later admitted he was “going to keep” the sunglasses and wallet for himself.

The court heard that the items had all been returned in re-sellable condition and so no compensation was required.

Richard Poppleton, chair of the bench, said he and his colleagues took into account the fact the defendant was now working.

Cobzaru was given a £100 fine and was also ordered to pay £135 in court costs and a victim surcharge of £30. He agreed to pay the fines and costs off at a rate of £100 a month.