Fugitive tobacco smuggler put behind bars when caught in Poland.

Bartosz Lewicki, 41, has been sentenced today (October 25) to four years in prison for a £579,000 illegal cigarette scam, after being arrested by Polish police and sent back to the UK on October 17.

In 2016, Lewicki was caught red-handed by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officers when 1.6 million cigarettes hidden among car parts were unloaded off a lorry at a storage depot in Stanmore.

The HMRC officers who were investigating the case at the time also raided a garage rented by Lewicki nearby Greenford, Ealing, where a further 490,000 illegal cigarettes were found.

The excise duty from the illegal cigarettes totalled to £579,536.

Harrow Times:

Some of the cigarettes found by HMRC officers (Photo: HMRC)

Lewicki was sentenced to four years in his absence at Blackfriars Crown Court on May 2017, with the sentencing confirmed today (October 25).

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.”