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ILLEGAL TRADE: Fugitive tobacco smuggler caught in Stanmore over £579,000 cigarette scam

 Published on: 14th November 2019   |   By: News Desk   |   Category: Uncategorized

A fugitive tobacco smuggler who was caught red handed by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officers in 2016 was jailed after being arrested in Poland. 

Bartosz Lewicki, 41, was sentenced to four years behind bars on October 25 after being caught unloading a lorry in Stanmore with 1.6 million cigarettes inside.

Offices investigating also found a further 490,000 illegal cigarettes in a garage rented by Lewicki totalling the scam to £579,000.

Lewicki was sentenced to four years in his absence at Blackfriars Crown Court in May 2017, with the sentencing confirmed recently.

He was arrested by Polish police and sent back to the UK on October 17.

Przemyslaw Olszewski, a 33-year-old lorry driver accomplice, pleaded guilty at Blackfriars Crown Court on May 2017 and was sentenced to 15 months in jail.

Brett Wilkinson, assistant director of the HMRC fraud investigation service, said: “Lewicki thought he could avoid prison by fleeing the country. But he was wrong and is now facing justice behind bars.

“Tracking down fugitives like Lewicki demonstrates how far HMRC’s work with law enforcement stretches across the globe.

“We will relentlessly pursue those who commit this type of crime, which undercuts honest businesses and steals from out public services.

“HMRC has a strong track record of managing serious offenders and returning fugitives to face justice. In the last two years alone, we have returned more than 30 fugitives including some of the UK’s most harmful tax cheats.”

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