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  1. ITV Report

Two Britons jailed for trying to smuggle 13 Albanians and a child across English Channel

Jonathan Bridgeman and Deshan Laci were sentenced at Lewes Crown Court. Credit: Tom Pugh/PA

Two Britons who attempted to smuggle 13 Albanian men and a child across the Channel in a small boat have both been jailed.

Boat owner Jonathan Bridgeman, 42, was sentenced at Lewes Crown Court to two-and-a-half years in prison for assisting unlawful immigration into the UK, while Deshan Laci, 35, was sentenced to three years in prison for the same charge.

The men set off from Brighton Marina and docked in Dieppe, France, for a few hours before setting off on a return journey to the UK around midnight on November 15 2014.

Bridgeman was caught after the vessel got into difficulty outside the entrance to Sovereign Harbour, in Eastbourne, East Sussex.

Twelve of the immigrants have since been removed from the UK, and one has a pending asylum application with the Home Office. The child has been handed over to social services.

Dave Fairclough, assistant director at the Immigration Enforcement Criminal Investigations team, said: "It is thanks to the prompt action of the harbour staff, the swift response of the police and the thorough investigation subsequently conducted by my immigration enforcement officers that Bridgeman and Laci have been brought to justice."