A GWENT man and his daughter have been jailed for attempting to smuggle nine people into the UK in a hired camper van.

Baden Williams, 47, of High Street, Pentwynmawr, and his daughter Latasha Perry, 27, of Farm Close, Oakdale, were both found guilty of facilitating illegal immigration.

The pair were sentenced on Friday (June 8) at Canterbury Crown Court.

Williams was sentenced to five years and six months in jail and Perry received a sentence of four years.

The pair were arrested in May this year at the UK Control Zone in Coquelles, France, when they were attempting to enter the Channel Tunnel.

Williams, who was driving the camper van, and Perry told Border Force officers that they were returning from a long weekend in northern France.

Upon searching the vehicle, officers discovered nine people – eight Albanians and one from Turkey – concealed in the van’s sleeping area and crammed into its rear storage compartment.

Williams and Perry claimed they had no knowledge of the people hidden inside their vehicle, and said the van had been left unlocked for a short time in Lillers.

They were arrested on suspicion of assisting illegal entry into the UK, and the investigation was handed over to Immigration Enforcement’s Criminal and Financial Investigation (CFI) team.

The CFI team’s Assistant Director, David Fairclough, 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.

“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.”

The Albanian and Turkish nationals found in the camper van were handed over to the French authorities.