Nine members of an illegal gambling racket busted by the police over the past few days, were each jailed for three months on Thursday. 

Romanian-nationals Mihail Lupu, 55, Andrei Marin, 33, Ionut-Eduard Moisa, 20, Gheorghe Morarescu, 48, Ioana-Beatrice Budascu 23, Constantin-Bobii Stroica, 38, Laura-Alexandra Cercelaru, 21, Alexandru-Constantin Enache, 33, and Alexander Gabriel Stroica, 27, all sharing the same Qawra address, pleaded guilty to participating in an unlicensed and illegal gambling scheme, breaching the Lotteries and Other Games Act and taking illegal bets or wagers.

Magistrate Charmaine Galea heard how the group had arrived in Malta on Saturday and had been due to leave within one week.

Most of the arrests were made at City Gate.

Prosecuting Inspectors Daryl Borg and Alfredo Mangion handed over to the court some €700 which had been generated through the group’s illegal activity. The tools of the trade, namely, some cups, a mat and other related items were also exhibited in court.

Amid protests by one of the elder members of the group that they had not been aware of the illegality of their activity, legal aid counsel Josette Sultana informed the court that the co-accused were registering an admission.

In view of this, the court declared them guilty and condemned them each to a three-month prison term, after warning them that their crime carried a possible maximum jail term of five years.

The court also ordered the confiscation of the money generated through the illegal gambling.