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Conspiring tobacco thieves Grzegorz Sikora, Adrian Love, Neil Bradley and Adrian Baker found guilty

A gang has been found guilty of conspiring to steal £250,000 worth of confiscated tobacco from the government.

The four men stole the contraband, owned by UK Border Force, from East Kent Waste Recovery Facility at Discovery Park in Sandwich.

A jury found Grzegorz Sikora, Adrian Love, Neil Bradley and Adrian Baker guilty at Canterbury Crown Court today.

The tobacco was valued at £250,000
The tobacco was valued at £250,000

Judge Catherine Brown ordered Sikora, Love and Bradley to be remanded in custody before sentencing.

She said a lengthy sentence is “inevitable” and deemed the trio a “risk of failing to surrender.”

Baker, who joined the conspiracy in its later stages was granted conditional bail under curfew.

A fifth man, Mark Short, has pleaded guilty and will be sentenced later.

Canterbury Crown Court.Judge Catherine Brown. (5102949)
Canterbury Crown Court.Judge Catherine Brown. (5102949)

Prosecutor Dominic Connolly told the jury: “Augean, which operates a high temperature incinerator, has a contract with UKBF to destroy hazardous waste, including tobacco, drugs, alcohol – materials which have a high potential black market value.”

“It is the Crown’s case the tobacco to the value of £235,000 was stolen.”

Mr Connolly said on February 18, 2017, secret CCTV cameras were installed and when later viewed, revealed Short taking bags through locked gates and placing them into the back of his car.

He said later that month site manager Andy Scorer was inspecting a “seldom used” storage area on site situated behind the main incinerator.

Mr Connolly said the manager later checked two freight containers – one was found to have a pallet of tobacco.

Canterbury Crown Court (7602990)
Canterbury Crown Court (7602990)

The court heard messages between the men included references to Amber, Richmond, Regal, Cutters, Mayfair, Golden Virginia and Turners – all makes of tobacco.

Texts read in court said: “Where have you hid all the baccy (sic)?"

It went on: “Anything about tonight?”

Gasps could be heard from the dock as the jury passed its verdict and Baker was visibly distressed.

Sikora, 37, of Northdown Road, Cliftonville, Love, 47, of Grenville Way, Broadstairs, Bradley, 47, of St Augustines Road, Ramsgate and Adrian Baker, 49, of Bush Avenue, Ramsgate will be sentenced on April 24 at the same court.

To read more of our in depth coverage of all of the major trials coming out of crown and magistrates' courts across the county, click here.

Read more: All the latest news from Sandwich

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