Two men who targeted various outlets of a local chain store, stealing foodstuffs to feed themselves after running into serious financial problems, were remanded in custody pending judgment.

Mario Campolo, 48, from Fgura and Sandro Mifsud, 48, from Floriana admitted to various charges of simple theft and two attempted thefts after they were arrested at the Marsascala store on Monday.

Shop staff had observed the duo, who had previously turned up at other outlets of the same store, picking items off the shelves and not paying at the cash point. 

While keeping an eye on the pair, shop personnel alerted the police who promptly moved in and escorted the two suspects into custody.

Campolo, a former construction worker who ended up unemployed, was the first to plead guilty, telling the court that he “had erred”.

The other co-accused also pleaded guilty, explaining that he had been unemployed since suffering a workplace injury but had recently been promised a job with a local cleaning company. 

“If it’s (the job) okay for me, given my disability,” Mifsud added, indicating his back and leg. 

Prosecuting inspector Clayton Camilleri explained that both accused had serious problems brought about by drugs, in case of Campolo, and loss of employment in case of Mifsud. 

They had to face the consequences of their criminal behaviour, but at the same time, the prosecution did not intend to pile pressure on the accused, the prosecutor explained. 

Their lawyer, Daniel Attard, said that both men had money problems and stole to feed themselves.

But both had pleaded guilty at a very early stage and they wanted to get their life back on track so they could become “active members of society”, the lawyer concluded.

The court, presided over by magistrate Rachel Montebello, remanded the men in custody pending judgment on Thursday. 

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