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Eftima Ivanova and Zlatko Alexsandrov jailed for thefts in Bury St Edmunds and Diss

Two ‘professional thieves’ who targeted several people including an 85-year-old man have been jailed for more than a year and face being deported.

Eftima Ivanova, 28, of Hanson Close, in London, and Zlatko Alexsandrov, 47, of Bicknoller Road, Enfield, were sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court today after committing four thefts in Bury St Edmunds and Diss earlier this year.

The pair, who said the crimes were committed out of desperation, appeared via live link, having pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing.

Eftima Ivanova and Zlatko Alexsandrov
Eftima Ivanova and Zlatko Alexsandrov

For the first incident, on February 5, in Diss, the pair broke into a cabinet at the shop their victim worked at and used her bank cards, from which she lost about £120.

The pair committed two thefts of purses in Bury St Edmunds on February 26. The first, they stole from a woman while she was drinking coffee and the second after pursuing their victim around Poundland.

Judge Emma Peters said the pair acted as a team, distracting the victim and stealing from her.

The most serious offence was against an 85-year-old man in Bury on March 8, who had withdrawn £600 for a charity event.

Ivanova, a Bulgarian national currently awaiting deportation, had two previous convictions for theft, while Alexsandrov had three convictions for theft, the court was told.

Peter Speary, in mitigation, said there was no evidence the pair targeted the older gentleman due to his perceived vulnerability.

He read two statements on behalf of the defendants to the court.

Ivanova said she committed the crimes out of financial desperation.

He said: “Mrs Ivanova has three children with her husband – the youngest being 12 months old. All remain in Bulgaria.

“She said she was remorseful for her actions and would not do it again, she is apologetic, and just wants to go home and live with her family.”

Regarding Alexsandrov, he said: “He has been here for three-and-a-half years on a five-year visa. He has a wife and two children, all of whom live in the UK.

“He acted out of desperation to provide for his wife and children, who can’t work.”

Alexsandrov admitted he was ‘acutely aware’ he faced deportation, Mr Speary said.

He was remorseful of his actions and asked the judge not to impose a sentence of more than 12 months, the court was told.

Judge Peters said she was sentencing the pair for four acts of dishonesty.

“It’s clear to me you were a professional team, who were used to stealing and out to ply your dishonest trade on those days,” she said.

She said the crimes were conducted in a ‘sophisticated and professional manner’.

Judge Peters said her sentences reflected the pair being professional thieves out stealing from people, with previous convictions for theft.

She added: “I’m afraid it’s my view that your collective dishonestly will make you eligible for a sentence that carries automatic deportation.

“Given you acted as a team, there is little to distinguish you, so you will both receive the same sentence.”

For the February 5 theft, the pair were each handed a four-month sentence and for the two February 26 offences, they were each sentenced to one month imprisonment, which will be served concurrently.

For the March 8 theft, the pair were jailed for 10 months, which will be served consecutively.

As their sentences were longer than 12 months, the pair face automatic deportation.