A Belgian man who attempted to smuggle four Albanians into the UK through Kent has been jailed for three years.
Jean Hennaux piloted a light aircraft that landed unexpectedly at Headcorn aerodrome on June 9th.
Once on the ground, four passengers disembarked only to by stopped by staff who called Kent Police.
Under questioning, the four Albanians admitted to have entered the UK illegally and Hennaux was arrested on suspicion of facilitating illegal immigration.
He later admitted three similar smuggling attempts between March and June, pleading guilty to them at Maidstone Crown Court.
Mark Rickard, from the UK Border Agency, said: "People smuggling is a serious crime which exploits vulnerable and desperate people.
"The sentence handed down by the Court reflects the severity with which those involved can expect to be treated.
“We would encourage those using small airfields and airports to keep their eyes open, and report anything suspicious so that it can be investigated and dealt with.”
The four Albanians, two adults and two children, were granted immigration bail.
The two adults are reporting fortnightly to the UK Border Agency while all their cases are considered. If they are found to have no right to remain in the UK, they will be removed.