Trial of 10p plastic bag thief costs taxpayers £3,000 after translator mix up
The trial of a Lithuanian immigrant who stole two plastic bags worth 10p has cost taxpayers £3,000 after a Latvian translator was hired by mistake.
Tadas Tarkutis was arrested on May 28 for taking the Sainsbury’s Bags for Life at its store in Scarborough, North Yorkshire.
Police arranged for a Lithuanian translator to undertake a 120-mile round trip from Harrogate to assist the 26-year-old, who was already serving a suspended sentence.
The same translator was not available when Tarkutis appeared at Scarborough Magistrates’ Court the following day and a Latvian speaker was mistakenly summoned from translation firm Capita.
It was not until the Latvian translator had driven 160 miles from Warwickshire that it was discovered she couldn’t talk for Tarkutis.
Magistrates apologised to the translator and told her to make sure she got paid.
Tarkutis was remanded in custody and returned to the court the following day, meaning extra court, custody and legal costs.
At the second hearing Capita supplied a Lithuanian translator and Tarkutis, from Birmingham admitted the theft before being jailed for six weeks for the suspended sentence breach.
A spokesman for Capita said it supplied a Latvian translator because police officers had booked one.
A North Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: “We are confident we booked the correct interpreter.”
The Crown Prosecution Service said that the court’s decision to jail Tarkutis validated its decision to prosecute.
A Taxpayer’s Alliance spokesman said: “Criminals must always be brought to justice, but this seems a remarkable amount of taxpayers’ money to spend on a rather minor case.”