Two men from the Midlands jailed for smuggling 31 migrants including children and pregnant woman

Credit: Home Office

Two men from the Midlands have been jailed for smuggling 31 migrants into the UK, including children as young as one and a pregnant woman.

Akan Brayan, from Nottingham, and Dylan Shwani, from Lincoln, paid drivers to hide the illegal Iraqi migrants in hired vans between 2016 and 2018.

The Home Office says people were crammed into the vehicles among stacks of tyres, second-hand furniture and household goods.

Officers found one woman cradling a child crammed among tyres in a van, with other children sat around her in the tightly enclosed space.

People were found crammed among tyres and other objects Credit: Home Office

Akan Brayan, 37, of Galena Drive, Nottingham, and Dylan Shwani, 37, of Spirea Approach Lincoln, were found guilty of recruiting drivers to hide migrants in hired vans containing various goods before smuggling them into the UK. 

They were both sentenced to seven years in prison at Nottingham Crown Court after a five-year investigation.

Vans were intercepted by Border Force and French law enforcement officers at sites including Dover in Kent and Coquelles, near Calais in France.

Paprika was found on the floor of one of the vans in an attempt to confuse sniffer dogs from detecting the migrants’ scents. Credit: Home Office

The Home Office’s Criminal and Financial Investigations (CFI) unit found they had paid six drivers from Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire, to bring 31 Iraqi migrants, on six separate occasions, into the country between the years 2016 and 2018.

They found boxes of goods deliberately placed to hide people as well as paprika on the floor of one of the vans in an attempt to confuse sniffer dogs from detecting the migrants’ scents.

One of the vans used Credit: Home Office

Ben Thomas, Deputy Director for Immigration Enforcement’s Criminal and Financial Investigations, said: "My team work tirelessly to bring to justice anyone attempting to smuggle people unlawfully into the country. 

"These two evil men endangered the lives of people, including children, to line their pockets without a care in the world for their safety."

He adds: "I hope these sentencings sends a powerful message that breaking the law and putting individuals’ lives at risk will not go unpunished."

Credit: Home Office

Minister for Justice and Tackling Illegal Migration, Tom Pursglove MP said: "These brazen attempts to smuggle illegal migrants, including very young children, into the UK in tiny, air-tight spaces with room to barely move, is despicable.  

"Our expertly trained officers continue to work round the clock to prevent this illegal activity, which puts lives in extreme danger."