Dover: Attempted People Smuggler Jailed
A man who attempted to smuggle a group of Afghan nationals into the UK on a small boat has been jailed for five years.
Romanian Marion Badea, 30, was discovered on board the inflatable motor boat in the English Channel, near Dover, just before 10am in June this year after a lifeboat was sent to rescue it following engine failure, a Home Office spokesman said.
Seven men, aged between 20 and 35, and a 16-year-old boy, from Afghanistan, were also found on the boat, trying to enter the country illegally, he added.
The vessel was towed into Dover harbour by a Border Force cutter and Badea was arrested and charged with assisting unlawful entry into the UK.
Badea, who had previously served nine months in a French prison last year for a similar offence, denied the charge but was convicted and sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court on Friday following a two-day trial, the spokesman said.
All those found on board the boat were removed from the UK apart from the teenager who was transferred into the care of social services, according to the Home Office.
David Fairclough, assistant director of the Home Office immigration enforcement criminal investigations team, said: ``This was an unsophisticated and brazen attempt to smuggle illegal immigrants into the UK.
"Thanks to the excellent interception made by the cutter patrol boat, and the subsequent investigation by our specialist criminal investigations team, Badea is now behind bars.
"Anyone thinking of doing the same should be warned that our specialist teams have the capability and resources to catch you and bring you to justice.''
The Home Office's immigration enforcement criminal investigations team is a specialist unit of seconded police officers working alongside warranted Home Office immigration enforcement officers to investigate organised immigration crime.
Anyone with information about suspected immigration abuse can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org.