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  1. ITV Report

Otley aid worker could face jail for smuggling 4-year-old back to family

A volunteer aid worker from Otley could be facing a sentence in a French jail for what he says was an act of compassion.

Four-year-old Bahar Credit: ITV News

Rob Lawrie tried to smuggle four-year-old Bahar from the infamous Jungle refugee camp in Calais to relatives in Leeds after her father pleaded with him to take her in his van.

He persuaded a Yorkshire aid volunteer to try to take her to family in Leeds - Rob Lawrie's now due in court for this - he will appear in January in Boulogne charged with smuggling.

He admits his crime and was arrested at the border.

The little girl was living in the Jungle with her father - her mother apparently still in Afghanistan, They both met Rob Lawrie there on his trips to deliver clothes and food and build shelters.

Bahar is related to a family who have been legally settled in Leeds for almost a decade.

The eldest son says they are sorry that good intentions got another man into trouble.

Rob Lawrie tried to smuggle Bahar from the jungle refugee camp to relatives in Leeds after her father pleaded with him to take her in his van Credit: ITV News

"His intention was to help my cousin out and to bring a little girl, To look at their conditions it's not good and he probably felt sorry for them."

Rob Lawrie's journeys to and from Calais began over summer, after he was moved to tears by the plight of child refugees.

"The images I have seen this week have totally changed my life."

Today and the journeys his local MP says made the community proud are on hold, and his van remains on his drive. He says it is now time for the government to step in.

His MP Greg Mulholland agrees and said today:

The plight of this girl does highlight the failure of the Government to do enough to assist refugees, including children who are desperately trying to find somewhere they can be safe. It is time that the Government and local authorities matched the willingness and compassion shown by millions of British people who are doing what they can to assist those fleeing conflict, unimaginable conditions and persecution.

– Greg Mulholland, MP for Otley

Bahar is back living in the Jungle.

Rob Lawrie could face five years in jail or a fine of up to thirty thousand Euros for attempting to smuggle her out.