Beds, Herts & Bucks

Two jailed for people smuggling bid

Two men have been jailed for assisting 20 illegal immigrants to enter the UK after they were arrested by police on a driving course.

Albanian Agim Kolaj, 29, of Queensbury Close, Bedford, admitted assisting unlawful immigration to a European Union member state.

Czech driver Petr Trapla, 51, admitted the same charge and was jailed for three years.

At St Albans Crown Court Judge Steven Gullick jailed Kolaj for 27 months.

'No entry right'

The court was told Kolaj arranged for a van to rendezvous with a lorry, which had collected a group of illegal immigrants in Belgium.

The meeting place, in Hogg End Lane in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, was below a motorway bridge on the M1 in December last year.

But they were arrested by a group of plain-clothed police officers in an unmarked car who were undergoing a driving course nearby.

Prosecutor Jeremy Barton said the officers could see the rear doors of the lorry were open and and figures clambering to get inside the van.

"They were all Albanian nationals with no right of entry or residence in the UK," he said.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites