Kenilworth purse-snatchers remanded in custody

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Two cousins who carried out a series of purse snatches from shoppers in Kenilworth and Stratford town centres have been remanded in custody.

The case against Ivalina Nikolaeva, 19, and Grafinya Vasileva, 25, at Warwick Crown Court had been adjourned on an earlier occasion for footage from town centre CCTV cameras to be served on them.

At the resumed hearing the cousins, both of Bishops Road, Croydon, pleaded guilty with the assistance of a Bulgarian interpreter to five charges of theft.

All five of the offences involved the thefts of purses on December 4 last year from women shoppers – the first two committed in Kenilworth and the other three in Stratford.

But their barrister Tim Sapwell said: “The case is rather complicated, because they both face other allegations elsewhere, and are represented by other solicitors elsewhere.”

He explained that on the day before their appearance at Warwick Crown Court, Nikolaeva and Vasileva had appeared at Guildford Crown Court for more recent but similar matters.

“In addition Grafinya Vasileva was supposed to have been at Brighton Crown Court on the 23rd of September for other similar matters.

“But she did not attend because by then she was already in custody on the Guildford matters.”

And Mr Sapwell pointed out that the cousins had been convicted of a single purse theft in Redditch in December, for which they were given suspended sentences by Redditch magistrates in February.

That offence had been committed on the day after the thefts in Kenilworth and Stratford, for which they were arrested and interviewed in January.

But they were still dealt with for the Redditch theft in isolation.

“They both want their matters dealt with as swiftly as possible, but we are not in a position to do anything other than make enquiries of the other courts.

“There need to be enquiries to see if all matters can be consolidated and dealt with by one court,” added Mr Sapwell.

Recorder Nicholas Cartwright, who observed that there had been ‘a lack of joined-up thinking earlier this year,’ agreed that enquiries should be made to link all the outstanding matters at one court.

He adjourned the case for those enquiries to be made and remanded Nikolaeva and Vasileva, who had previously been on bail for the Warwickshire offences, in custody.