Plaistow trickster and family jailed for street con

A Romanian con man who tricked tourists into betting wads of cash in a game they could never win was jailed for 28 weeks after asking a judge to give him a “light sentence”.

Vasile Craciun, 49, was spotted encouraging unwitting dupes to take part in illegal street gambling on Hungerford Bridge in central London on May 6.

Craciun lured punters in by surrounding himself with a group of friends and relatives who posed as gamblers.

City of Westminster magistrates’ court heard some of the gang had arrived in the UK just weeks earlier.

Craciun, of Jenkins Road, Plaistow, was convicted four times of similar offences between June 2009 and July 2010. At his previous court appearance, he was handed a 12-week jail sentence, suspended for a year under conditions including that he did not enter Westminster.

The gang was arrested at the scene after being observed by a group of three plain-clothes police officers.

None were allowed to work legally in the UK, and though they claimed to have homes in London, they had no door keys on them.

Most Read

Illegal gambling

Ana Marie Petroiu, 21, and Adrian Bobeica, 23, both of Halley Road, Plaistow, and Stefan Craciun, 30, and Ana-Gabriela Craciun, 39, both of Spencer Road, East Ham, admitted supplying facilities for illegal gambling. Each was fined �2,500.

Magistrate Stevie Dee said: “The aggravating features of this offence are the fact that this conduct is not actually gambling but a con trick, and there is no chance that the victim will win.”

Craciun was sentenced to 16 weeks in prison, and his earlier suspended sentence of 12 weeks was also activated consecutively, making a total of 28 weeks.