Belfast Telegraph

Man arrested in Belfast thought Scotland was not in the UK

A Romanian man detained in breach of a deportation order thought Scotland was not part of the United Kingdom.
A Romanian man detained in breach of a deportation order thought Scotland was not part of the United Kingdom.

By Alan Erwin

A Romanian man detained in breach of a deportation order thought Scotland was not part of the United Kingdom, a court heard on Thursday.

Claudiu Szabo had previously been ordered to leave after being convicted on a spate of shoplifting and drugs offences in the greater London area.

But the 31-year-old, of no fixed abode, was arrested again in Belfast on Wednesday.

Appearing before the city's magistrates' court, Szabo pleaded guilty to illegal entry to the UK.

Prosecutors said he showed up in breach of a deportation order imposed when he received a suspended sentence earlier this year.

Szabo's barrister told the court he had been in Dublin first seeking employment.

"He wasn't able to get work and was travelling on to Scotland," she said.

"He knew he wasn't allowed in the UK, but didn't realise Scotland was part of it."

Responding to those submissions, District Judge Paul Copeland noted: "A few people in Scotland may well agree with him, however I will say nothing more about that."

Describing the offence as serious, Mr Copeland warned that Szabo's liberty was at stake.

He remanded the defendant in custody to appear again for sentencing on August 1.

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