TWO men who stole scrap metal during a burglary at a yard in the Wrexham area have been jailed for 12 months.
Judge Niclas Parry said burglary and theft of scrap metals was now reaching epidemic proportions in the region.
Mold Crown Court heard Haywoods in Ruabon had been hit five times by burglars, which had meant a loss of £20,000.
The company had also spent £15,000 on additional security measures including a sophisticated CCTV system which could be monitored from a mobile phone.
But burglars again struck on March 26 and two of the five raiders were caught by police as they pretended to be asleep in a van parked nearby.
Lionica Ganescu, 37, and Iohut Predusca, 24, who followed the proceedings with the aid of a Romanian interpreter, admitted burglary when they stole copper wire valued at £800.
The two men, both from Birmingham, were branded professional thieves by Judge Parry.
“You have both admitted involvement in a pre-planned, commercial burglary,” he told them.
“You were part of a gang of five travelling thieves.”
The judge said they had travelled into North Wales believing the region to be vulnerable and an easy target.
The premises they attacked had been raided as many as five times.
Judge Parry said the company had suffered loss and spent a large amount on additional security and the potential effect on the business and employment was massive.
“You are professional thieves. This court has a public duty to protect the businesses of North Wales from such criminality.
“Burglaries and thefts of this nature are of epidemic proportions here,” he declared.
Prison sentences were required to deter others from travelling into North Wales to commit offences.
Paulinus Barnes, prosecuting, said police received a call about suspicious activity in the early hours of the morning.
They found a van parked in Heol Offa and the two defendants were in the back pretending to be asleep.
There was stolen copper wire in bags in the vehicle.
Staff at Haywoods discovered there had been a burglary and the metal in the van was positively identified by them.
The CCTV system had alerted staff of movement three times during the night. The cameras were monitored, but no one had been detected on the premises.
Andrew Green, for Predusca, said his client had been recruited to help load the van.
His mother was in poor health in Romania and he wanted to earn money to buy her medication so she could receive proper treatment.
Frances Hertzog, for Ganescu, said he was in the country legally, but was not entitled to work or claim benefits.
He wanted money to pay for accommodation for his wife and daughter.