A father and daughter have been jailed for attempting to smuggle nine people into the UK in their hired camper van.
Baden Williams, 47, and his daughter Latasha Perry, 27, were both found guilty of facilitating illegal immigration at Canterbury Crown Court on Friday, June 8. Williams was sentenced to five years and six months in jail and Perry received a sentence of four years.
The pair were stopped on May 1, last year by Border Force officers at the UK Control Zone in Coquelles, France, before entering the Channel Tunnel. Williams was driving the vehicle and Perry was his passenger and the pair claimed to be returning from a long weekend in northern France.
When Border Force officers searched the camper van, they discovered nine foreign nationals - eight Albanians (seven men and one woman) and one Turkish man. Four were concealed in the sleeping area directly above Williams and Perry. The other five were hidden in the storage compartment at the rear of the vehicle.
Williams, of High Street, Pentwynmawr, and Perry, of Farm Close, Oakdale, were arrested on suspicion of assisting illegal entry into the UK and the investigation was passed to Immigration Enforcement’s Criminal and Financial Investigation (CFI) team. The Albanian and Turkish nationals were handed to the French authorities.
Williams and Perry claimed they had no knowledge of the people hidden within their vehicle, and stated that the van had been left unlocked for a short time in Lillers.
Assistant Director David Fairclough, from the CFI team, said: “Williams and Perry took a very ill-advised decision when they chose to involve themselves in immigration crime of this nature. A reckless gamble has ended with criminal convictions for both.
“My officers specialise in tackling abuses of immigration laws and this case demonstrates their thorough investigative work, as well as the vigilance of Border Force in making the initial detection.
“Anyone thinking of doing the same should take this case as a warning. We will catch you and we will ensure that justice is served.”
Paul Morgan, Director of Border Force South East and Europe said: “Border Force works in close partnership with other UK and French law enforcement agencies to secure the border in northern France, the result of which is that it is one of the most secure in Europe.
“We will continue to work to ensure that people smugglers and traffickers, whose actions so often endanger others, face the full consequences of their crimes.”