A GANG who stole £80,000 worth of dental scanners from a laboratory have been jailed.

Misu Nanu, Losif Imbrisca, Miron George and Vlad Mihai all admitted the burglary and were sentenced at Oxford Crown Court yesterday.

The court heard CCTV footage showed the four men using a crowbar to break into Byrnes Dental Laboratory in Wheatley through a window on January 27.

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The men claimed they found the tools on the site and did not plan the break-in.

Barrister Cathy Olliver told Oxford Crown Court: “Police chased the four men across the countryside and Mr Imbrisca dived into the Thames to escape.”

One of the scanners was the only one of its kind in the country but both of have now been recovered.

Nanu later said during a police interview: “I did steal from the dental facility; this was not a planned burglary it was more of an opportunity because of an open window. I had no idea of the worth.”

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Barrister Eiran Reilly told Oxford Crown Court: “Because the items were recovered the victim has not suffered a significant degree of loss. There was no degree of planning and organisation.”

However, Judge Nigel Daily did not accept that the high-value theft happened by sheer coincidence.

He said: “You weren’t simply out for a walk that night – you were a gang with the intent to steal.”

George, 35, and Mihai, 39, who both live at a caravan site in Highfield Park in Arborfield, Wokingham, and Imbrisca, 45, of Burchen Grove in Luton, were each sentenced to 16 months in prison.

Nanu, 41, of Atkinson Road in Newham was sentenced to 14 months in prison.