Dover: Two Jailed For People Smuggling

Two people caught smuggling four illegal Afghan immigrants into Britain from Calais in the boot of their car have been jailed.

Detectives said jobless Didier Devos, 36, and Sandra Vienot, 28, both from France, were driven by financial greed and had no regard for human life.

Their French-registered Renault was stopped at Dover's Eastern Docks after it arrived at the Kent port on a ferry from Calais just after 4pm on June 30.

The pair claimed they were visiting the UK and would return to France that evening, according to Kent Police.

But when investigators opened their car boot, three adults and a girl aged seven were found crammed inside.

Three of them - a 28-year-old woman, a 30-year-old man and the girl - were from the same family. The other stowaway was a 55-year-old man.

At Canterbury Crown Court, Devos was jailed for four years and Vienot for two years after they were convicted of trafficking, Kent Police said.

Their sentences come amid heightened concern across the English Channel about the number of migrants using Calais as a staging post to try to reach the UK.

Hundreds of migrants, mainly from Africa, are camping or living in squats there, which has led to violent clashes erupting on the streets in northern France.

Local officials have called on Britain to do more to share the burden of immigration, with the deputy mayor of Calais, Philippe Mignonet, appealing recently to the historic ``Entente Cordiale'' between the two nations.

Mr Mignonet said earlier this month that the port town had been saddled with an image of a "theatre of war'', as he called on David Cameron to "come and see what we face''.

This month, it was reported that Calais mayor Natacha Bouchart was planning a state-funded camp away from local residents amid the "unbearable strain'' of the high numbers of migrants.

Following sentencing, Detective Constable Matthew Whitlock, of Kent Police, said: "The highly organised smuggling of people through countries is a despicable crime where the offenders prey on desperate people who are often transported in shocking and dangerous conditions.

"Both Devos and Vienot, like others who trade in human misery, were driven by financial greed and had no regard for human life.

"This was apparent by the poor condition that their victims were in when they were discovered in the pair's car boot. People were disposable to them.

"In bringing these two to justice we have disrupted, if not dismantled, one more illegal enterprise and hopefully saved other potential victims from inevitable suffering.

"We've also sent a clear message to current and would-be people smugglers that we will find you and bring you before the courts no matter who you are or where you're from.''

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