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Polish lorry drivers sent to prison for people smuggling

  • 03 February 2014
  • By Hayley Pink

Two Polish HGV drivers who tried to smuggle a group of Albanians into the UK through North Shields ferry port have both been sent to prison for 18 months.

Krzysztof Szabelski, 44, and Waldemar Kuchcinski, 41, were arrested on 30 November 2013 after UK Border Force officers discovered the stowaways during vehicle searches at the port.

Three men were found hiding underneath the driver’s bed inside Szabelski’s cab, and a fourth man was found at the side of Kuchcinski’s vehicle. He admitted to officers he had been hidden inside the lorry during the journey from Amsterdam.

Both lorries had arrived at North Shields from the Dutch port and were destined for a DC in Glasgow.

Following an investigation by a specialist Home Office criminal investigations team, Szabelski and Kuchcinski were both charged with “facilitating a breach of UK immigration law”. They pleaded guilty in December and on 31 January 2014 they were both handed 18-month jail terms at Newcastle Crown Court.

Adrian Watkins from Home Office criminal investigations said: “This was a pre-planned attempt by both Szabelski and Kuchcinski to smuggle desperate people into the UK purely for their own financial gain.

“Through our investigations we were able to prove that both men were at the centre of this plan, and had full knowledge that the Albanians were hiding in their vehicles.

“This case sends a strong message to those who think they can cheat the immigration system: you will be caught and the consequences will be severe.”

All four Albanians were interviewed and sent back to Amsterdam on the day they were discovered.

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Article source: http://www.commercialmotor.com:80/latest-news/polish-lorry-drivers-jailed-for-pre-meditated-albanian-smuggling