Two Romanian men living in Sunderland found asleep with axe, sword and knives after party

Two Romanian men living in Sunderland who were found asleep in a campervan as an axe, a sword and knives lay around them have been jailed.

Stefan Brinza, 29, and Marius Rezmelita, 42, were found sleeping in a campervan by police after a night of partying in October last year. When officers woke them up and searched the van, they discovered an axe, a sword and knives lying around in the vehicle.

At the time, both men were on police bail and were banned from associating with each other as they were under investigation for potential drug offences. On Wednesday, they jointly appeared at Newcastle Crown Court via link from HMP Durham.

Brinza, of Richardson Terrace, Washington, was sentenced for three counts of possession of an offensive weapon, an axe, a knife and a sword. Rezmelita, of Donnison Gardens, Hendon, Sunderland, was sentenced two counts of possession of an offensive weapon, a claw knife and a folding knife.

The court heard that shortly before 9am on October 16 last year, police were made aware of a man being “slumped” inside a Fiat campervan near St Luke’s Terrace in Sunderland. When officers arrived, Brinza was found asleep in the front of the van with keys in the ignition. The officers then searched the vehicle.

Neil Jones, prosecuting, said: “Police went to the passenger side and [Brinza] raised his head and appeared under the influence. Another male, Rezmelita, was in the back of the camper asleep. Police located an axe and a sword.”

Officers then searched the part of the van near to Rezmelita, and found a claw knife, a folding knife, and other items including a cricket bat and wallpaper knife. The court was told Rezmelita had four previous convictions for six offences, including possession of cocaine and crack-cocaine. He was also in breach of a suspended sentence at the time of the offence.

Marc Atkins, defending Brinza, said he had no previous convictions and had pleaded guilty to the offences. He said: “He’s been in this country since 2015 and is a working man. The Home Office believes he has been staying illegally in this country since 2022, he disputes this and says he has been working and paying his taxes. The Home Office seeks to deport him and he has no issues with that and he seeks to go home to Romania.”

Speaking of the offence, Mr Atkins added: “He had been to a party the night before, taking cocaine and drinking vodka heavily. He woke up in the van.” He said that Brinza had been “productive” whilst in custody by working in the library and warehouse.

John Crawford, defending Rezmelita, said he had already spent around 24 weeks in custody and that he had been working with mental health and drugs and alcohol teams. He added that he had previously worked as a delivery driver.

Sentencing the pair, Recorder Hedworth KC jailed Brinza for six months and Rezmelita for eight months.

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