Page last updated at 16:34 GMT, Monday, 22 March 2010

Man returns home for wallet to find squatters

The house in Southfields
The owner returned to his house to find a couple moving in

A man who returned to his house in Northampton because he forgot his wallet found a homeless Romanian couple and their child attempting to move in.

The victim, who lives in a two bedroom house in Southfields, discovered Mihai and Laura Dediu moving his belongings.

He called the police and the Romanians were arrested.

They said they had been told they could squat in the house but at Northampton Crown Court admitted criminal damage and were given community orders.

Sentencing them to 12-month orders and 100 hours unpaid work, Judge Richard Bray said it appeared the country was going back to Dickensian times.

The Romanian couple, who do not speak English, told police through an interpreter they thought the house had been empty for some time and they could squat there.

The court heard the man left his home on the afternoon of 7 December 2009, but returned shortly afterwards because he forgot his wallet.

On his return he discovered the couple had forced their way in.

'Bizarre case'

Judge Richard Bray said: "The owner comes back and there's an unknown car parked in his drive and the lights to the house are on.

"He goes in and finds these two defendants and a young child. We are going back to Dickensian times it appears.

"This is a bizarre case. In 26 years I cannot remember burglars taking a young child with them to carry out a burglary."

Mihai Dediu, 30, and his wife Laura, 24, now of Great Gull Crescent, Southfields, pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage to the locks and windows.

A burglary charge was dropped.

Ben Gow, defending, said the couple had been told by a man they met in a shop that they could live at the address.

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