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Two men have been sentenced to 27 years in prison between them following the robberies of women in Leicester, Reading and Hove.
Bogdan Cercel, 31, was sentenced to 15 years in prison and Vasile Touth, 35, sentenced to 12 years in prison at Leicester Crown Court today (Monday 30 January).
Cercel was found guilty at a trial in earlier this month and Touth pled guilty last year (both pictured).
Both men, formerly of Larkway Close, London, were convicted of:
Our initial investigation began in June 2021 when it was uncovered that the defendants had booked services with women, who were working as masseurs or offering sexual services, at their addresses in Leicester.
One of the men attended the appointment and as they were leaving, knowing where the girls hid their money, they would allow other people who had been waiting outside the front door inside to assist them in stealing from the women.
Cash, jewellery and other items of value were taken and two of the women were bound with tape and the other threatened with a knife.
Following the subsequent investigation which included the use of mobile phone and ANPR data, Cercel and Touth were arrested in June and were charged.
Extensive enquiries were continued to be carried out and through a number of recovered mobile phones from the suspects, officers were able to trace four further woman who reported being robbed by the men in the same circumstances at addresses in Reading and Hove.
Detective Inspector Jenny Tattersall, who oversaw the investigation, is concerned that there are many more victims who didn’t report their crime to the police.
She 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 being trafficked into the UK so they can be that reluctance 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.
“I want to reassure anyone who has been a victim of this offending that it’s not too late to speak to us. We have specialist officers who can support you through that process and we will continue to investigate and gather any further evidence to determine if these men committed further offences.”
You can report a crime by calling us on 101, or online via www.leics.police.uk
Further information about modern slavery, can be found on our website here: https://www.leics.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/ms/modern-slavery