Conviction for cousins smuggling firearms at Harwich
- Credit: National Crime Agency
Two Polish men have been convicted after being caught at Harwich International Port attempting to smuggle handguns and ammunition into the UK.
National Crime Agency (NCA) officers launched an investigation after driver Marek Rafal Kloskowicz, 30, and his passenger Pawel Marcin Krakowczyk, 41, were stopped at the north Essex port on September 17 this year.
The cousins claimed to be returning from Poland to Ireland, where they had worked in construction for five years.
The BMW car, which belonged to Krakowczyk, was searched by Border Force, who found an empty gun holster within the lining of the boot.
Further searches uncovered two Zoraki forward venting blank firing firearms, which had been hidden behind the back seats and wedged in the void between the upholstery and boot compartment.
Each weapon contained a loaded magazine and was found to have been modified and converted into viable, firing firearms.
Officers found another empty gun holster, fake Polish ID cards, a small quantity of class A drug methylamphetamine and associated paraphernalia inside a pouch and sunglasses case.
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They also recovered fuses, wires and chemicals which contained small amounts of explosives.
The explosives are believed to have been intended to manufacture bullets.
Both men were arrested on suspicion of importing firearms.
Both men admitted to importing the firearms and ammunition at Chelmsford Crown Court today and are due to be sentenced at the same court at a date to be confirmed in January 2022.
NCA branch commander Lydia Bloomfield said: “Kloskowicz and Krakowczyk were carrying lethal weapons and ammunition, which I have no doubt were destined for the criminal marketplace.
“Guns are often associated with the supply of illegal drugs, and are used by organised criminals to instill fear, inflict violence and in some cases, to kill.
“Thankfully, working with Border Force we managed to stop them reaching the streets of the UK or Ireland and protected the public.”
Deputy director Mark Kennedy, of Border Force Maritime Operations, said: “This case is the result of hard work and dedication from Border Force and the National Crime Agency to secure the UK’s borders and prosecute those that would seek to smuggle dangerous weapons into the country.
“Everyone involved can be proud of their work and particularly those officers that intercepted and stopped these dangerous weapons and ammunition from entering our communities."