London men who robbed women of cash and jewellery across UK jailed


wo Londoners who robbed women working as masseuses or offering sexual services of their cash and jewellery have been jailed.

Bogdan Cercel, 31, was sentenced to fifteen years in prison and Vasile Touth, 35, sentenced to 12 years in prison at Leicester Crown Court on Monday.

The court heard how the pair, both of Larkway Close, Colindale, carried out robberies in Leicester, Reading and Hove in 2021.

In some of the cases, the women were assaulted and bound with tape, while in at least one assault they were threatened with a knife.

Police say more victims could yet come forward, as the pair targeted foreign nationals, some of whom may have been trafficked into the UK.

Nearly 40 mobiles were recovered by officers, which they fear could belong to other victims.

Detective Inspector Jenny Tattersall, of Leicestershire Police, said: “All of the victims in these cases are foreign nationals and it is believed that the defendants targeted them suspecting they would be less likely to report the matter to the police.

“These women can often be vulnerable with some we believe having been trafficked into the UK so they can be that reluctant to make a report.

“Thankfully these women who went through a distressing ordeal, did contact police and we were able to support them through this investigation. I do believe that there are other women who may have been subjected to similar offences by these same offenders.

“During our searches at their address, we discovered close to 40 mobile phones, phones which they stated did not belong to them but we could not trace back to their original owner. These could well be phones stolen from other women.”

Police began a probe in June 2021 and found the men had booked services with women in Leicester.

One of them would attend the appointment, and as they were leaving, would allow other people waiting outside to come in to assist them in stealing from the women.

After tracking mobile phone and data from cameras recognising number plates, Cercel and Touth were arrested.

Police traced four further women who reported being robbed by the men in the same circumstances at addresses in Reading and Hove.

The pair were convicted of six counts of robbery across Leicester, Hove and Reading in 2021, across which mobiles, cash, jewellery and bank cards were stolen.

They were also convicted of assault with the intent to rob on April 13, 2021 in Leicester where a knife was used to threaten the victim.

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