Stealing charity bags of clothing has cost a man dear. He has been convicted at court for stealing charity bags of clothing worth more than £40,000.
Arnas Gasiuna, aged 27, appeared at Basildon Crown Court where he was found guilty of taking the bags from charity clothes bins or snatching them from people's doorsteps to sell on for a huge profit in Poland.
Detectives at Havering were first alerted to the thefts in 2010 when they were contacted by a voluntary worker from the charity Clothes Aid. They had been informed by various charities that bags were vanishing throughout the UK but particularly in and around east London. They believed the bags were being taken to an industrial site at Ferry Lane in Rainham, Essex.
Investigating officers were able to trace the bags to a lorry site and container yard. They discovered one shipping container filled with over 3000 bags of clothing, weighing more than 20 tonnes, which were all due to be transported to Eastern Europe to be sold for a significant profit.
The bags were still clearly marked with UK charity logos and should have been sold to raise money for the NSPCC, the PDSA and the British Heart Foundation.
Gasiuna was arrested at the scene in Rainham on 27.10.10 as he tried to load
the bags for shipping.
Gasiuna, of South Esk Road, E7, but formerly from Poland, was later charged with five counts of handling stolen goods. He had previously appeared at Havering Magistrates' Court on 16.05.11 and will now be sentenced at Basildon Crown Court on 28 November.
Detective Sergeant John Kirby, who led the investigation for Havering police, said: "A haul of this size proves that Gasiuna had been operating in an organized manner for some time. The clothes were stolen from doorsteps and registered charity clothes bins with a view to sell them on in Eastern Europe.
`This man was not only duping generous homeowners who took the time to donate their clothes but was also robbing charities of an essential form of income. Today's result proves how seriously we have taken this crime and we hope it will deter others from stealing from registered charities."