A man who attempted to smuggle 12 Albanian nationals into the UK hidden in a campervan was jailed for over 4 years this week.
On the afternoon of 30 September 2018, a Fiat campervan was stopped by Border Force officers at the UK controls at the entrance to the Channel Tunnel in Coquelles, France.
Hayley Cole was a passenger in the vehicle, which was being driven by his partner, Christopher McEneaney.
The couple’s 2 children were sat behind them in the living area of the campervan.
Cole told officers that they had travelled out to France and had stayed at a campsite near the Eurotunnel.
When officers searched the vehicle, they found 9 males in the rear locker of the campervan, officers then entered the interior of the van, finding one woman in the shower cubicle, and a woman and child in the toilet. All 12 individuals were in possession of Albanian passports.
McEneaney, 31, and Cole, 26, were arrested on suspicion of assisting illegal entry into the UK and the investigation was passed to officers from Immigration Enforcement’s Criminal and Financial Investigation (CFI) team.
Chris Philp, Minister for Immigration Compliance and the Courts said:
Working with law enforcement and international partners we will do everything we can to stop people smugglers who evade our laws and take advantage of vulnerable people.
This should serve as a warning to people smugglers that we will bring them to justice.
McEneaney appeared at Canterbury Crown Court on 6 July 2020, charged with assisting unlawful immigration. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 52 months imprisonment.
The Albanians found in the vehicle were passed to the Police Aux Frontieres.
Anyone with information about suspected immigration abuse can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 anonymously or visit the Crimestoppers website.