Ilford man in court accused of child trafficking after Romanian authorities issued warrant for his arrest

A MAN accused of being a “real life Fagin” appeared in court today on suspicion of trafficking children into Britain to work as pickpockets.

The father of eight, Nelu Stoian, of Baden Road, Ilford, appeared at City of Westminster Magistrates Court in central London after Romanian police desperate to catch the 28-year-old issued a European arrest warrant.

Mr Stoian, a Romanian national, has been wanted in his home country on charges of child trafficking, money laundering and masterminding a criminal gang.

If the court decides to extradite him, he will stand trial there.

Police working on Operation Golf - a joint investigation into trafficking between the Metropolitan Police and the Romanian authorities - arrested him in November last year.

Operation Golf officers also raided 16 homes in Ilford in October taking 28 children between the ages of three and 17 into police protection.

Neighbours next to the family’s three-bedroom terraced house described the morning Mr Stoian was arrested.

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Jasim Isthiaq, who lives next door, said: “I got up at 6am for morning prayers and saw police vans descending on the house.

“They busted down the door. It’s always been a strange house with lots of people coming and going at all hours of the night.”

He added the couple, who had lived in the house for just under a year, had “an army” of children.

“Every time I saw her (Mr Stoian’s partner Mirabella Stanciu), she had another baby with her.

“The children were so polite though, they had impeccable manners. In the summer they were out playing with other children from the street - they are nothing like the parents.”

A full extradition hearing was due to take place today but prosecutor Myles Grandison, acting for the Romanian authorities, said he needed more time to investigate one of Stoian’s charges.

His defence added Mr Stoian would not sign the proof of evidence document until it had been translated, delaying the case.

District Judge Quentin Purdy adjourned the hearing to February 1.

He said to Mr Stoian: “You must prepare your evidence in time because if you don’t there’s a strong likelihood it won’t be heard.

“In prison you can concentrate on preparing it because there’s not a lot else for you to do.”