A London man who supplied cigarettes for a £36 million smuggling operation exposed by the ‘Operation Venetic’ EncroChat takedown has been jailed for six years and nine months.

Maciej Dzikowski, 49, from Brentford, London, is the third member of the gang to be jailed.

Two other men were jailed for a total of more than 14 years in November 2021.

HMRC investigators used the EncroChat messages to help prove the gang smuggled 117 million cigarettes between 29 March and 12 June 2020, worth £36 million in lost duty and taxes.

Gang members were also convicted of money laundering.

They sent approximately £8 million in cash out of the country during the first lockdown in 2020, including £1.6 million which was seized by officers at Dover in May 2020.

Cash was referred to in EncroChat messages as paper, £10,000 was known as a sandwich, and the lorries transporting the cash were called sandwich taxis.

The UK was nicknamed The Wild Country or The Island.

A HMRC spokesperson said: “Organised crime harms communities and businesses and costs the UK millions of pounds which should be spent on vital public services.

“We encourage anyone with information about the illegal sale of tobacco to report it online.”

Maciej Dzikowksi pleaded guilty to conspiring to fraudulently evade tobacco duty and transfer criminal property on 26 March 2021 at Manchester Crown Court.

He was sentenced on 14 January 2021, at the same court, to six years and nine months in prison.