A MAN has been jailed for attempting to smuggle six people into the UK in a hired campervan.

Jamie Parsons, of Fairhill Walk, Fairwater, Cwmbran, had admitted facilitating illegal immigration during an earlier hearing at Canterbury Crown Court.

Parsons was stopped on August 29 2017 by Border Force officers at the UK Control Zone in Coquelles, France, before entering the Channel Tunnel. He was driving a hired motorhome and claimed to be returning from a camping trip in Belgium.

South Wales Argus:

Inside the compartment

The 31-year-old was asked by Border Force officers to unlock the vehicle’s rear storage compartment and two people were found hiding inside. A full search of the vehicle was then carried out and four more people were found hiding in the bottom bunk bed at the rear of the motorhome. None of the group, which consisted of four men and two women from Albania, had the correct documentation to enter the UK.

He was then 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 nationals were then handed to the French authorities.

Assistant Director David Fairclough, from the CFI team, said: “Parsons was committing a serious offence – abuse of the UK’s immigration laws – and this reckless gamble for financial gain has ended with a criminal conviction.

“This case is testament to both the thorough investigative work of my officers, as well as to the vigilance of the Border Force officers who made the initial detection.

“We will continue to ensure that those engaged in this kind of criminality are brought before the courts and prosecuted.”

And Paul Morgan, Director of Border Force South East and Europe, added: “Border Force works in close partnership with other UK and French law enforcement agencies to secure the border in northern France.

“We will continue to ensure that people smugglers and traffickers, whose actions so often endanger others, face the full consequences of their crimes.”

Parsons was sentenced to two-and-a-half-years in jail.

Anyone with information about suspected immigration abuse can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 anonymously or visit http://www.crimestoppers-uk.org.