Albanian criminals in British jails cost taxpayers £57 million a year, figures reveal, as secret files say drug kingpins from the country are infiltrating Britain’s streets as illegal migrants.
The official report found that there are 1,336 Albanians in jail in England and Wales.
According to the Ministry of Justice, the average cost of jailing a prisoner is £42,670 a year.
The total amount of holding all 1,336 criminals in prison is therefore £57,007,120.
It comes as it was uncovered that so far this year, 12,000 Albanians have come to the UK in small boats.
Albania’s director of immigration police Saimir Boshnjaku said that many coming to the UK were working for gangsters to repay the cost of smuggling them into the UK.
He said: ‘Those that make money from drugs come back here driving Maseratis and Mercedes and they buy a big villa in the village.’
The official report found that there are 1,336 Albanians in jail in England and Wales. Pictured: Albanian gang Hellbanianz based in Barking in 2018
The brazen gang taunt cops by posting pictures of drug money and flash cars to a public Instagram page
Elsewhere, the UK government were called on by Albanian political respondent Muhamed Veliu to issue more visas to allow for safe and legal migration.
He said that only a ‘small portion’ of people arriving on the boat end up in crime.
Mr Veliu said that many people who arrive in the country come as there is a huge market that needs workers in building construction.
He said that higher salaries in the UK also attract Albanians.
Images posted to their public Instagram page include a cake made from £50 notes. The gang’s HB logo is meanwhile spelled out in drugs in pictures posted online
A member of the gang is pictured in his prison cell in designer clothing
Four years ago, members of an Albanian gang flooding Britain with cocaine were revealed to brazenly be posting pictures online showing off their guns, cash and expensive cars.
The Hellbanianz gang, based in Barking, east London, are understood to traffic millions of pounds worth of drugs into the UK each year.
But rather than hide their illegal activities like other gangs, the group flaunt their wealth and weaponry online, amassing nearly 100,000 followers.
Three leading members of the gang were jailed for a total of 42 years in 2016 after a police operation recovered £6million worth of drugs and a machine gun.
But the jail terms seem to have done little to deter the gang’s activities and pictures were posted on their Instagram page.
The east London-based Hellbanianz gang boasted about their lawless lifestyle on Instagram. Pictured: Members of the gang drape themselves on luxury cars
A gang member in a gas mask is pictured in front of a black super car
One member, pictured showing his middle finger to the camera, wrote: ‘I’m trying to spend It.. You still trying to make it #SnowMoney not #ShowMoney’
Shocking images on their social media channels include a cake laden with £50 notes and videos of gang-members in prison rapping about violent attacks.
Members of the gang have even posted pictures of a small child wearing a gang symbol medallion.
They boast of having ‘city control’ over London and claim they are ‘ready for war’ with rival gangs.
One photo of the Instagram account shows wads of £20 notes on the red car seat
They have leapfrogged other drug gangs in London because of their ruthlessness in violent turf wars, The Daily Express reports.
In a chilling YouTube video members of the gang rap to warn their rivals.
They describe themselves as ‘God of the streets’ and the video shows them posing with flash cars and glamorous women.
They rap: ‘[Hellbanianz] is ready for violence, he asked this as proof, ask these or talk about facts, ask this if we shoot.
‘London city control, f*** this team with crowns, f*** that bitch from tattoos, the gang has already taken over.
‘[Hellbanianz] is ready for war, with two arms arm wrist, we about dat gango bando, how do you compare to me?’
A police operation to crack down on the gang in 2016 recovered 21kg of cocaine and a Skorpion sub-machine gun. Pictured: A photo posted by the gang in 2018
The Gucci-sporting gangsters often pose in their cars wearing masks to hide their identities in 2018
One post even shows what is believed to be a small child posing with gangster medallions, which are shaped like guns. The Hellbanianz Instagram page has more than 8,000 posts
One member of the gang, Tristen Aslanni was jailed for 25 years for firearms and drug offences in June 2016.
He was caught after crashing his car into a shop in Crouch End during a police chase.
Police officers searched a house in connection to his arrest and found a staggering £6million pound drug stash, including cocaine, and a Skorpion machine gun with a silencer.
Meanwhile in Albania, a container holding bananas from Colombia unloaded in the main port of Durres was found to contain cocaine worth £160million.
It is likely a large portion of that would have ended up in London had it not been seized by local authorities.
The group have even posted a photo with two pistols side by side, complete with ammunition. They are said to rule London’s cocaine trade with an iron fist
The gang are not afraid to show off their ill-gotten gains, often posing with wads of cash
Albanian gangster Tristen Asllani has managed to post this picture online from his jail cell. Asllani was handed a 25-year sentence for conspiracy to supply drugs, dangerous driving and possession of a firearm in 2016
One gang member poses masked with a gold medallion. The Hellbanianz run a public Instagram page which flaunts their gangster lifestyle
Because Albanian gangs import so much cocaine into Britain, the National Crime Agency believes this is what contributed to the so-called ‘county lines’ gangs epidemic in Britain.
Some gangs groom young children to take drugs out of London to sell it in quiet towns, and in other areas of the country.
A spokesman at the National Crime Agency said groups like these are expanding and increasing in number.
The spokesman said: ‘Albanian crime groups have established a high profile and degree of influence within UK organised crime, and have considerable access to the UK drug trafficking market, particularly cocaine.’
- Instagram later took down five of the Hellbanianz accounts. A spokesman said: ‘We do not allow illegal behaviour, threats of physical harm or organised crime on Instagram. The account @hellbanian.z and related accounts have been removed for violating our community guidelines. We encourage anyone who comes across this type of content to report it via our in-app tools. We work 24/7 to review and remove anything that violates our terms.’
Many of the pictures appear to have been taken inside prisons, presumably with mobile phones smuggled in. Members often scrawl the name of the gang on their cell walls
Recently, Albanian gangster rappers drove military vehicles fitted with heavy machine guns around a British housing estate while shooting a music video that glorified drug crime and violence.
In an online video viewed more than 17 million times, fearsome masked men cruised around the Gascoigne Estate in Barking, East London, in an armoured fighting vehicle equipped with a .30 calibre machine gun.
The gang also brandished a .50 calibre Browning machine gun fitted on to a military jeep.
It is believed neither of the guns could be used and were either decommissioned or replicas.
The video, entitled Poppin Smoke, is the latest to be posted on YouTube by the notorious Hellbanianz rap group.
A video shared on YouTube showed Albanian gangster rappers driving military vehicles fitted with heavy machine guns around a British housing estate
The masked men cruise around the estate in an armoured fighting vehicle equipped with a .30 calibre machine gun
The video, entitled Poppin Smoke, is filmed in the Gascoigne Estate in Barking, East London
They share the same name as a violent gang of Albanian drug dealers that has terrorised the area for years.
It is feared the slick videos – featuring Barking-based rappers Ervin Selita, currently believed to be in jail in Albania awaiting trial for an alleged firearms offence, and Fatjon Dibra – are encouraging others in Albania to enter the UK illegally to join criminal gangs.
‘These songs are glorifying violence and drugs and showing off a lavish lifestyle,’ said Muhamed Veliu of Albania’s Top Channel TV station.
‘Young men watch these videos and want to move to the UK to enjoy this wealth. They help attract more recruits for gang bosses.’
It comes after a major leak of secret files has exposed how Albania is in the grip of dangerous criminal gangs feared to be infiltrating Britain as illegal migrants.
Albanian government documents plundered by hackers reveal how police lost track of 17,000 criminals as its justice system became ‘backlogged’ by the scale of illegal activity. Secret talks between the UK and Albania on stamping out organised crime and illegal migration are also revealed in the documents, seen by The Mail on Sunday.
The Albanian prime minister has accused the British Government of discriminating against Albanians to distract from its ‘policy failures’.
In return, Home Secretary Suella Braverman has hit back, promising a raft of iniatives to stem the flow of illegal cross-Channel migrants, 42 per cent of whom are now Albanian.
Thousands of files – many marked ‘Sensitive’ and including detailed intelligence briefings and emails from prime minister Edi Rama – have been leaked in a highly embarrassing diplomatic incident.
The files reveal:
- 100,000 ‘suspects’ are allegedly on the Albanian police system, including some convicted after illegally entering the UK to establish vast drug networks;
- British officials were so afraid the nation was falling behind in the fight against mobsters that they offered to genetically profile a backlog of 17,000 Albanian criminals;
- The names, locations and contact details of Albania’s intelligence agents have been made public in a ‘catastrophic’ security breach;
- One Albanian drug lord illicitly purchased luxury property in the UK under the name of a British-Albanian relative as part of his multi-million-pound criminal empire;
- Albanian mobsters plotted a series of assassinations ‘with a hunting rifle’, including the prime minister of neighbouring Kosovo in an attempt to establish a foothold.
The Albanian prime minister Edi Rama (pictured) has accused the British Government of discriminating against Albanians to distract from its ‘policy failures’
Intelligence experts described the leak as a ‘devastating blow’ and warned it could set back efforts to tackle Albanian organised crime by years.
The massive data haul was stolen from Albanian government computers in July and has been released gradually online, with the latest disclosure last Wednesday.
Albania has accused Iran of being behind the attack, and last month cut diplomatic ties and expelled Iranian embassy staff following a joint investigation with the FBI.
The number of Albanian migrants arriving on Britain’s shores has swelled in a record year for small-boat crossings. More than 12,000 Albanians – between one and two per cent of its adult male population – have arrived so far this year.
Albania, a country of just 2.8 million people, makes up the largest proportion of foreign inmates in British jails, and Albanians are ten times more likely to be incarcerated than the average person in the UK.
Among the disclosures is a file titled ‘Suspects’ containing more than 100,000 people, complete with mugshots, that the hacking group claims was taken from the Albanian police database – although authorities deny this.
The leader of the Albanian opposition, Sali Berisha, said that this disclosure has informed crime bosses they are under surveillance and they will already be fleeing the country.
‘This is a moment when Albania has become the most dangerous country in the Balkans and Europe,’ he said.
The number of Albanian migrants arriving on Britain’s shores has swelled in a record year for small-boat crossings. Pictured: an inflatable craft crossing the English Channel in July
The Mail on Sunday has verified that the names of many of the most high-profile Albanian drug kingpins to have operated in Britain are included in this list.
It includes a 37-year-old suspected Albanian crime boss who was banned from the UK for his alleged involvement in flooding the country with cocaine and cannabis last year after a battle with the Home Office.
Also on the list is a convicted killer who was arrested by the Metropolitan Police in 2019 after spending 22 years on the run, and was deported to Albania last November. He had used a fake name to claim asylum in the UK as a bogus Kosovan refugee.
Contained in the files are tip-offs from informants to security services that expose how the tentacles of Albanian organised crime have extended to Britain.
One tip-off, sent in October last year, reveals that an ‘Albanian drug lord’ has bought luxury property worth millions of pounds, including ‘many properties’ in the UK, in the name of his Albanian-British uncle. The uncle, the message adds, ‘is dangerous and carries weapons at all times’.
Extensive British efforts to crack down on illegal immigration and crime in Albania are also revealed in the files.
This includes British Border Force assistance at the airport in the capital Tirana and a formal arrangement to shore up the port of Durres, the largest in Albania. A delegation including officials from Felixstowe port travelled there as part of that agreement.
Significantly, the leaked cache also includes a draft agreement marked ‘Official’ to clear an alleged backlog of 17,000 DNA samples from people detained and arrested in Albania since 2018 that needed to be added to an online database as a ‘matter of urgency’.
The agreement was due to last for 24 months from August 2021, but it is not clear if it went ahead. Failure to put criminals in an online database could allow them to cross borders without raising an alert on immigration computer systems, experts warned. Albanian officials expressed their thanks for the UK’s assistance, with one email from the former police chief thanking the British ambassador ‘for all your support so far’, adding: ‘We need your support for our joint efforts against organised crime.’
Perhaps the most damaging leak is a 16-page document detailing the names, passport information and phone numbers of members of Albania’s state intelligence service SHISH, the equivalent of MI5.
Also contained within the files are the names of officers from the National Crime Agency, Britain’s version of the FBI, who are in Albania attempting to combat organised criminal gangs.
TikTok videos show dozens of Albanian migrants making the crossing, with this group unfurling the nation’s flag on the boat
Classified intelligence reports have also been leaked, including one that details a plot by Albanian criminals to carry out a string of assassinations with snipers and a hunting rifle, including that of Kosovan premier Albin Kurti. It was intended to destabilise the country so gangsters could gain a foothold. The plot was confirmed by the Kosovan government in September.
Philip Ingram, a former colonel with British military intelligence, warned the leaks could seriously hamper British efforts to thwart Albanian criminals who control small-boat people-smuggling as the gangs ‘change their tactics to stay one step ahead’. ‘These leaks are a devastating blow not only for Albanian security services, but also our own law-enforcement agencies who work to protect our shores from criminal gangs,’ he said.
The Home Office said it did not comment on leaks, while a spokesman for the Albanian government said the material was a ‘mix of truth and lies’ and disputed some of the figures mentioned in official documents as ‘totally made-up numbers’. Asked for clarification, they did not respond.
He added: ‘Albania has been the victim of a cyber attack by Iran that has been condemned by Nato.’