England

'Garlic ploy' stowaway bid sees six men jailed

Van
Image caption The court heard the men used specially-adapted vans

Two Bulgarian people smugglers have been jailed for bringing eight illegal immigrants, including two children, into the UK hidden in vans.

Yordan Donchev, 25, and Sashko Georgiev, 24, were both jailed for three and a half years.

Last Friday, four other Bulgarian men were also jailed for their part in the operation.

Maidstone Crown Court heard one man put garlic bulbs in his van to try to put customs sniffer dogs off the scent.

However, an immigration officer heard the sound of a young child crying and the rear doors were forced open, the court was told.

'Desperate people'

Judge Jeremy Carey described the operation, which used specially-adapted vans with fake rear doors to hide their human cargo, as a "well-organised criminal enterprise".

The court heard smuggling trips were made from Calais and Dunkirk into Dover, and from Hook of Holland to Harwich.

The judge said it involved many more human-trafficking trips than those intercepted.

He added: "You knew full well there was very good money to be earned at the expense of desperate people."

The four men jailed last week were Ivan Georgiev, 39, who received a nine-year term, Veselin Denikov, 43, who was jailed for seven years, Iliyan Marinov, 45, who was jailed for six years, and Georgi Stankov, 65, who received a six-year sentence.

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