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Romanian bailed after posing as police officer to steal cash from tourists did it again weeks later

A MAN who was bailed after he posed as a police officer to steal cash from tourists did the same thing six weeks later, a court heard.

Costel Musat, 57, from Gainsbury Drive, Dunstable, pleaded guilty to posing as a police officer twice to steal cash from tourists in central London.

Musat, who had a Romanian interpreter in court, admitted at Westminster Magistrates' Court on November 12 to two counts of impersonating a police officer. He also admitted one count of fraud by false representation and one count of theft in connection with the two incidents.

He was due to be sentenced today (November 22) at Croydon Magistrates' Court which heard the first incident happened on September 24 this year when a couple visiting the UK were approached by three men, including Musat.

The men produced a police warrant card and demanded passports and money.

The man handed over US dollars and Japanese Yen totalling £7,500.

The court heard the three fled, but Musat was detained by a member of the public and later arrested by police.

The couple recovered all of their money.

He was released on police bail.

On November 11 this year a similar incident happened when three men approached a couple near their hotel in Courtfield Gardens, South Kensington.

The warrant card was produced and Musat grabbed £2,000 and fled, but was again detained by a member of the public and arrested.

He made no comment to all questions during interview.

The court heard they deliberately targeted vulnerable tourists in another country.

Musat's defence lawyer Tim Bittlestone said the offending happened over a "mad six-week period." He said: "(Musat) had taken out a £50,000 loan and repayment was required in connection with his family and business. He has quite serious health issues in relation to a heart stent fitted two years ago. He is on medication which could be restricted in a custodial setting.

"This happened over a mad six week period to a man nearing retirement with a stable family and all the money was recovered so he has not benefitted."

The case was adjourned for sentence at crown court.


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