A LORRY driver has been jailed for six years after attempting to smuggle four Albanians into the UK.

Maciej Janusz Andrzejewski, 35, was convicted at Chelmsford Crown Court after a three-day trial.

He had denied charges of facilitating a breach of the UK’s immigration laws, but was found guilty by a jury.

He was acquitted of charges relating to an ID offence.

The Pole, of no fixed address, was arrested by officers from the Home Office’s Criminal and Financial Investigations Team on July 11 after he had arrived at Harwich Port on a ferry from the Hook of Holland.

He was stopped by Border Force officials.

Paul Whitehead, who led the investigation for the Home Office, said: “When the lorry was scanned by the Border Force, officers spotted what looked like human figures in the pallet storage boxes on the side of the trailer, which was carrying a load of rhubarb.

“During a full search the four illegal immigrants were discovered.

“This was an excellent detection, which showed technology and the skills and expertise of Border Force officers working effectively together.”

All four Albanians, aged 31, 29, 20 and 20, were returned to the Netherlands later that day.

Mr Whitehead added: “Andrzejewski was prepared to smuggle desperate people into the UK in cramped and dangerous conditions for his own financial gain. I hope the tough sentence that has been handed down today sends a strong message to those who would cheat the immigration system – you will be caught and the consequences will be severe.”

Border Force officers use hi-tech search equipment including carbon dioxide detectors, heartbeat monitors and scanners to find stowaways.

They also use sniffer dogs and visual searches to detect illegal immigrants and drugs, firearms and cigarettes.

Anyone with information about suspected smuggling should contact the Border Agency on 0800 595000.