FULL: Polish Air Force flights have been packed with criminals wanted back home (Wikiwand.com)
POLAND is using military aircraft to fly wanted criminals back home from the UK because of the huge numbers of its fugitives hiding over here, Essex News and Investigations can reveal.
Large numbers of Poles awaiting extradition to Poland has led to delays with them returning to face prison or court because Polish Air Force planes have been full of wanted suspects or convicts trying to evade justice in the UK.
Poles make up the biggest percentage of overseas criminals who face extradition from the UK for an array of offences.
Last October a newspaper investigation revealed that between September 27 and October 26 nearly a quarter (117) of the 454 extradition cases heard at Westminster Magistrates' Court concerned Polish nationals.
A massive 315 of the cases were from eastern European countries and the second highest nationality sought for extradition were Romanians at 48 cases.
Due to the high number of Polish criminals captured over here, who the courts agree to extradite, many are now sent back on Polish military aircraft, with some flights leaving at full capacity.
HEARING: Extradition cases are heard at Westminster Magistrates' Court (Wikipedia)
Details emerged at Westminster Magistrates' Court during the extradition case of Artur Michal Rzadkowski, 45, from Grantham, Lincolnshire.
His extradition was ordered last October, but the court heard he had yet to leave due to delays and the next available military flight to Poland was already full, so it had to be extended again.
District Judge Margot Coleman said: "The next military flight is already full. We will have to look at the next available one."
She ordered that Rzadkowski fly out on May 30, but his case had to be brought back to court and was delayed again.
A court spokesman said: "The National Crime Agency (NCA) made an application to the court for an extension of time for removal in this case due to issues with the Polish military flight."
He was finally extradited back to Poland.
The same day Rzadkowski was in court there were 10 other Poles facing extradition.
WANTED: Builder Wojciech Folcik is currently facing extradition (Police picture)
These included builder Wojciech Folcik, 49, from Wembley, west London, who has been wanted on fraud charges since at least 2012; Tomasz Kurzynski, 43, from Nottingham, who is wanted for criminal damage and burglary; Krzysztof Omylski, 28, from Taunton, Somerset, who is wanted for theft, and Tomasz Smentek, 28, also wanted for theft.
In the first two weeks of June 52 extradition requests from Poland were heard at Westminster, concerning offences including firearms and human trafficking, drugs, money laundering, pornography, rape, robbery, fraud, theft, burglary, assault and driving offences
The Home Office started deporting some illegal immigrants from the UK on flights from military bases last year after there were a series of protests by anti-deportation campaigners at airports, including Stansted in Essex.
A Home Office spokesman said the Polish extradition flights were entirely separate and carried out on Polish, not British military aircraft.
The NCA is responsible for informing requesting countries when their fugitives are ready to be flown home.
An NCA spokesman said: "The NCA does not organise extraditions.
"The general procedure is that we would notify the requesting country through our channels that an individual is ready to be surrendered, it is then their responsibility to collect.
"How they chose to transport them is entirely a matter for them."
A spokesman for the Polish Ministry of Defence said: "We would like to inform you that considered flights, in extradition cases in Poland, are provided by military aircraft, what is specified in agreement between Ministry of National Defence and Ministry of Interior and Administration.
"These operations are carried out in accordance with Polish law."