A VAN driver who was part of a gang that smuggled nearly two million cigarettes into the Selby area plans to leave Britain as soon as he finishes his punishment, a court heard.

Michael Wicko’s first son was born in Poland while he was in jail awaiting trial for being concerned in evading £437,000 in customs duties, York Crown Court heard. He has never seen him. Recorder James Baird said Wicko had been used by his brother Piotr, also part of the gang, because he had had access to a van through his legitimate work as a delivery driver.

Wicko, now 28, of Cobham Close, Enfield, London, was jailed for 15 months. As he has been in custody since his arrest last September, the judge expects him to be released very soon. He was convicted by a jury last March after denying the charge. His barrister Stephen Mather said: “My client is anxious to return to Poland to get a job and resume his life of supporting his fiancee and their child. He is anxious to do so as soon as possible.”

Wicko had played a small part in the conspiracy, said the barrister. He had picked up one of the conspirators, Marcin Muraczewski, at Stansted Airport and transported flat pack boxes to Thorpe Wood near Selby in his van, travelling in convoy with his brother and Muraczewski, both of whom had waited for the cigarettes’ arrival two and a half hours after Michal Wicko had headed back to London. The boxes were to be used for onward transport of the cigarettes.

The three other members of the gang were sentenced at an earlier hearing to jail terms of two years, 30 months and three years.