A trio who ripped £20,000 worth of mobile phones from a supermarket display were arrested in Tesco.

Two men and a boy were tearing the devices off displays at Tesco Mobile in Burgess Hill’s Jane Murray Way store when they were spotted by staff, customers and three off-duty police officers on the afternoon of May 17 this year.

Valentin Bocan, 24, Mario Ilie, 18, and a 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were detained by the off-duty police officers who recovered the phones.

A number of people were assaulted in the process.

The trio were then arrested and charged with attempted robbery. All three pleaded guilty.

Bocan, of no fixed address, was remanded in custody and appeared before Lewes Crown Court on September 8, where he was sentenced to 23 months’ imprisonment.

Mario Ilie, of Saint Awdrys Road, Barking, was sentenced to 22 months – suspended for 24 months – at an earlier hearing.

The 16-year-old boy, from Ilford, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was referred to a youth offender panel.

Investigating officer, Detective Constable Stuart MacPherson said: “This was a brazen act of attempted robbery, committed in a busy supermarket in broad daylight.

“The defendants seemingly had no concern for the consequences of their actions, and it is only thanks to the quick-thinking staff, customers and off-duty officers that they were detained and a significant loss was prevented.”