SIX prize idiots have been found guilty after the NCA foiled a racket that smuggled Albanian migrants across the English Channel using inflatable boats and jet skis.
The group of men which included Brits and Albanians were convicted of attempting to ferry mostly Albanian nationals into the UK using rigid hull inflatable boats.
Sabah Dulaj, Arthur Nutaj, Albert Letchford, Wayne Bath, Leonard Powell and Alfie Powell were all found guilty at the Old Bailey.
Eighteen people were smuggled from locations in Calais to Dymchurch in Kent in dangerously overcrowded inflatable boats designed for six.
The gang charged each migrant £6k, 18 migrants at £6,000 a time that’s quite a lucrative business (£108k)…so significant sums of money involved for the crime groups which is why they do it – making money and exploiting those individuals wanting to come to the UK.”
The NCA has more than 250 active investigations into people smuggling into the UK – in what is industry worth up £6bn worldwide.
Britain’s National Crime Agency said: “they spent in the region of twelve to twelve and a half thousand pounds per vessel that they purchased.”
“They then charged the migrants in the region of about £6,000 which is what we’ve been told by the migrants themselves to be transported over to the UK.”
The investigation was led by Britain’s National Crime Agency after an inflatable boat called “Rebel” was found abandoned on Dymchurch Beach.
The boat had been used to ferry migrants, and contained personal belongings and vomit.
Border Force officers attended the scene and were told by Bath, who claimed to own the vessel, that he had experienced engine difficulties while night fishing.
The NCA monitored the Kent group as they launched a new boat, the “White Scanner”, into the sea to collect a group of 18 Albanian migrants.
As the vessel returned to Kent it got into difficulties around five miles off the British coast, with migrants captured on helicopter CCTV bailing out water.
The coastguard and Border Force rescued those on board.
Richard Davis was on Border Force cutter Valiant during the rescue.
“It was quite rough and choppy seas and the exposure to a bitterly cold easterly wind was a concern to me as two of the migrants were suffering from hypothermia,” he said.
“They seemed in a large amount of distress, there were a couple of minors on board between 16 and 18 and my priority was to save life at sea and that those migrants were taken on board Valiant safely and everyone taken into Dover and seek medical assistance.”
At the same time the group had been planning a rescue attempt using another inflatable boat which was later found abandoned and the 4×4 towing it set on fire.
In July 2016, the group obtained a larger vessel from Southampton.
NCA officers bugged the boat, hearing evidence of the group planning another migrant run across the Channel.