A CHEF made up an allegation he’d been bundled into a white BMW and kidnapped – after he failed to turn up for work.

More than 20 police officers were involved in the investigation prompted by Mariusz Kaminski’s claims, made in November 2017, that he’d been kidnapped over a debt.

He was accused by the prosecution of digging himself into a hole “with the ferocity of half a dozen moles”.

The 36-year-old, now living in Trowbridge, denied perverting the course of justice and fraud by false representation. But jurors at Swindon Crown Court yesterday convicted him on both counts, taking around two hours to reach their unanimous guilty verdicts. 

Over the three-day trial, the jury heard that Polish-born Kaminski had been a successful chef. He’d run into difficulties in the middle of the last decade, when he was forced to declare himself bankrupt and his relationship with his wife had broken down.

By October 2017, he was working in a Wanborough pub and struggling to pay his mortgage.

He received news a close friend had killed himself in Poland. Distraught over his friend’s death and concerned about his financial situation, he failed to turn up to work on a number of days in late October.

His boss was so concerned he went searching for Kaminski in Swindon on October 23. He found his employee, who looked tearful and embarrassed. Two days later, Kaminski returned to work but was more subdued.

On October 27, he told his boss he had debts from a previous business totalling several thousand pounds.

The following day, matters took what the judge overseeing the trial described as a “somewhat surprising turn”.

He sent a number of texts to his manager and a female friend, a Polish national who he’d met in Swindon, saying he’d been kidnapped.

Kaminski’s story as it emerged was that he owed £1,500 to a man called Kenny. He’d been kidnapped by three black men and bundled into a white BMW X6. They were said to have driven him to Marlborough in search of a cash point.

He claimed to have escaped his captors then hidden in a hedge for half an hour before walking to the Great Western Hospital, where his friends were anxiously searching for him.

But rather than walking across the fields, he was in fact texting from his home.

His female friend, who he had warned off calling the police, later gave him more than £1,600 after hearing that his family could still be at risk from the “kidnappers”.

The bogus kidnap was reported to Wiltshire Police on November 13, when Kaminski signed a lengthy statement confirming everything he’d written was the truth and acknowledging he could be prosecuted if he’d lied.

The police launched an investigation, involving 22 separate police officers and hundreds of hours of detective work. They trawled bank statements and traffic cameras, but began to ask questions when they found no trace of the white BMW. Two men were interviewed; both denied any knowledge of the allegations and one of the men even told officers he was a pensioner not a money lender.

Kaminski denied doing an action likely to pervert the course of justice and, while he admitted accepting money from his friend, claimed that this was offered as she knew he was already in financial difficulty and he had not obtained the cash by telling her about the false threats to his family.

In his closing speech, prosecutor George Threlfall dismissed the defendant’s case as nonsense.

"We have a saying, don't we, in this country and it's rather a good saying; 'when you're in a hole, stop digging'. He was in a hole from a very early stage in these proceedings but he dug, didn't he?” Mr Threlfall said.

"He kept on digging with the ferocity of half a dozen moles and that is why he finds himself in the situation he does. He was the author of his own misfortune. He didn't need to make the false statement to the police, he just didn't need to do it."

John Dyer, for Kaminski, described the reason for making the false statement as “completely banal, idiotic, stupid”: “I can’t face coming into work so I’m going to make up a story. It’s entirely a matter for you if objectively considered that proves the offence which is before you.”

Kaminski, now of Mascroft Road, Trowbridge, was found guilty of perverting the course of justice and fraud by false representation. Recorder Roger Harris bailed him to be sentenced on March 22 at Salisbury Crown Court. He ordered the preparation of a pre-sentence report.