Delivery driver had 'Aladdin's cave' of goods worth almost £20,000 at home

Eduard Zarioiu leaving Norwich Crown Court after being sentenced for theft and possession of criminal property offences.

Eduard Zarioiu leaving Norwich Crown Court after being sentenced for theft and possession of criminal property offences - Credit: Peter Walsh, Archant Norfolk

An "Aladdin's cave" of hundreds of boxed and unopened items were found at the home of a delivery driver who stole almost £20,000 worth of goods.

Eduard Zarioiu, 46, had been a courier for Hermes, who had become concerned about an "unusually high number of parcels" which seemed to be going missing.

Norwich Crown Court heard on December 18, 2020 that Hermes carried out a check on Zarioiu's vehicle and found two items which were not scanned properly, making them "untraceable".

Ian James, prosecuting, said Zarioiu was "unable to provide an explanation" as to why the items were not scanned.

When asked if there were any others, he said he had a scooter, leading to a search of his home in Churchill Road, Norwich.

Items worth about £700 belonging to Hermes were found, including the electric scooter, a coffee maker, vacuum cleaner, blender two pairs of training shoes, a toaster and a fryer.

Mr James said it became apparent there was an "Aladdin's Cave" of "very, very many" other items which were unopened or unused, including 21 pairs of boxed Nike trainers.

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More than 300 of these items were found with the total value of the stolen items £19,384.

Mr James said that while these items could not be attributed to Hermes the "irresistible inference" was that he had come by these items improperly as a result of his work.

Zarioiu, who was born in Romania, went onto plead guilty to theft of packages from the delivery firm between August 31 and December 19, 2020.

He also admitted possessing criminal property between January 9, 2020 and December 19, 2020.

He was sentenced on Tuesday (June 21) by Judge Alice Robinson who said he had stolen goods that should have been delivered to customers with "hundreds of other items" found.

He was given an 18-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months and ordered to carry out 120 hours unpaid work.

Zarioiu's wife, 40, also of Churchill Road, had been charged with possession of criminal property but had denied the offence.

Eduard Zarioiu, left, leaving Norwich Crown Court after being sentenced. His wife Elena-Mirela Zarioiu is on the right.

Eduard Zarioiu, left, leaving Norwich Crown Court after being sentenced for theft and possession of criminal property offences. His wife Elena-Mirela Zarioiu is on the right - Credit: Peter Walsh, Archant Norfolk

Mr James said following her husband's pleas the case against Elena-Mirela was being discontinued and offered no evidence.

Nargees Choudhury, mitigating, said he had pleaded guilty to the offences and made admissions at the scene.

She said it was "opportunistic offending" with the defendant taking items "he didn't even need".

A Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) hearing will take place in October.