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People smuggled to Cornwall 'like cattle'

People smuggled to Cornwall 'like cattle'

Published by Emma Carton at 7:33am 25th February 2020. (Updated at 11:46am 25th February 2020)

A judge has told the gang who smuggled immigrants into Cornwall you 'traded in misery'.

29 Vietnamese nationals were brought across the Channel and into Newlyn last April.

Officials were alerted when locals spotted the group getting off a yacht in the harbour.

Many were women and children and half were under the age of 18-years-old.

The victims were then crammed into a van, which was later stopped by police on the M5 in Devon.

Four men were jailed at Truro Crown Court on Monday, for a total of over 16 years: Read More.

People Smuggling
Police say a group of 29 immigrants smuggled into Cornwall on board a yacht were treated like cattle. Photo: Devon and Cornwall Police

In a statement issued after sentencing, Devon and Cornwall Police said the group were treated like cattle.

"We welcome today's sentencing and hope it serves as a reminder that people are not commodities to be handled like cattle with total disregard for their health and safety.

"The vessel was in a poor state, smelling strongly of diesel and cluttered with clothing and empty food wrappings. 

"The boat would have been extremely cramped with all 29 people having to share a single toilet.

"The four convicted today risked the lives of 29 men, women and children without any appreciation of the danger of their circumstances. 

"They were motivated only by monetary reward and thankfully no one paid the ultimate price".

Detective Inspector Glen Willcocks, Devon and Cornwall Police

People Smuggling
The Vietnamese nationals, many of whom were women and children, were brought into Newlyn on a yacht. Photo: Devon and Cornwall Police

"These four men were involved in a carefully planned trip to bring 29 Vietnamese individuals to the UK illegally. 

"It was important for the prosecution that while there was no direct contact between the two males from the yacht and the two from Kent, they all managed to coordinate their arrival in Newlyn to unload and transport the 29.

"This clearly demonstrated that this was a well organised operation involving people and places in different parts of the UK, carefully coordinated to facilitate illegal entry into the UK.

"The investigation involved a significant multi-agency operation to detain and process the 29 at the same time as dealing with the four suspects and gathering evidence against them. 

"It was however the suspicions of the public and their early contact with the police that enabled the Police to detain the four suspects and recover the 29 Vietnamese individuals. 

"Such public action is crucial in assisting the police in cases like this".

Ann Hampshire, Senior Crown Prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service

People Smuggling
The immigrants were crammed into a van which was later stopped by police on the M5 in Devon. Photo: Devon and Cornwall Police

"We work closely with law enforcement colleagues such as Devon and Cornwall Police to rigorously pursue people smugglers.

"This was a despicable case, where the perpetrators clearly had no regard for the well-being or dignity of the people they were smuggling.

"I hope these sentences send a clear message to anyone tempted to get involved in the heinous crime of people smuggling - you will be caught and you will face the consequences".

Nick Davies, Wales and West Immigration Enforcement CFI team

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