Illegal migrants ‘smuggled out of UK to avoid deportation and then back again’

Illegal migrants are being smuggled out of the UK to avoid deportation or prosecution in the UK, it emerged yesterday, as a Romanian trafficker was jailed for three years and eight months. Alexandru-Dorinel Fuiorea was stopped by police and the National Crime Agency in Gillingham, Kent, as he tried to smuggle 17 illegal migrants out of the UK in the back of a lorry. Inside the 29-year-old’s trailer, which could only be opened from the inside, were 16 men and one woman of Indian, Pakistani, Tunisian, Moroccan, Bangladeshi and Afghani nationalities.

Maidstone Crown Court was told there was no legal cargo and there had been no attempt to hide the migrants. Prosecutor Emin Kandola said this was due to the fact a vehicle leaving the UK “would not normally expect to be searched”. Asked by Recorder Alistair Webster QC why the migrants were being taken out of the UK, she replied: “There are a number of reasons but no evidence of which.

One is they have claimed asylum (and failed), are fleeing to visit relatives in another country, or fleeing from the authorities in this country.” Fuiorea, a professional driver from Luton, Bedfordshire, pleaded guilty to assisting unlawful immigration, and possession of a small amount of cannabis found in his lorry cab on arrest. One scam involves migrants being smuggled out to evade deportation before being smuggled back. Once in mainland Europe, they can register for asylum in that EU country.

They are then brought back illegally into the UK so that if they are caught and deported they would be returned to the European country rather than their own country. In one previous operation, migrants were told by the UK-based people trafficker that they could be smuggled out of the country almost any day of the week for GBP300. However, the return journey, either via small boats across the Channel or hidden in lorries, was more expensive with the trafficking gangs charging GBP1,200 per person.

The court heard Fuiorea had been in the UK for more than 10 years and has no previous convictions. He claimed to be GBP17,000 in debt and been threatened with the sack by his employers if he did not carry out the human trafficking journey. Sentencing him, recorder Webster said: “This is exploitation of desperate people, it places significant stress on border controls and resources, and undermines cross-border security.

“I accept your role was only that of a driver and you would have limited understanding of what was going on further up the line. “I also accept any financial profit out of this would have been a modest one and those who would have made the substantial profits were again higher up the line. “It’s a pity you did not feel able to assist the police and NCA in identifying those who were responsible.

“It needs to be understood that all those playing a significant role in the trafficking of human beings will attract severe and significant sentences.” NCA branch commander Andy Noyes said after the sentencing: “The organised criminals behind people smuggling move migrants across borders in both directions. This threatens the security of both the UK and France, while putting lives at risk.

“Enablers like Alexandru Fuiorea make these dangerous trips possible, in exchange for a fee.

“The sentence handed to him should serve as a warning to anyone thinking of getting involved in such criminality.

The NCA and our law enforcement partners are determined to catch you and bring you before the courts.”