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  1. ITV Report

Man jailed for trying to smuggle migrants into the UK

  • Video report by ITV News Meridian's Christine Alsford

A man has been jailed for more than 3 and a half years for illegally trying to smuggle eight Albanians, including a child, into the UK off the Sussex coast.

Charles Lynch, who had been on the run for 28 years after absconding from prison, was stopped in a motor cruiser following a high-speed chase with Border Force officials in seas near Littlehampton in November last year.

Lynch, who has 93 previous convictions, was also known as Wolfram Steidle.

Border Force boarding motor cruiser Credit: National Crime Agency

Following the chase, immigration officials went on board Lynch's boat, where they found 5 Albanian men, two women and a child and their suitcases.

All those on board were wearing smart uniforms, logos, baseball caps and t-shirts. Charles Lynch had told immigration officials he was teaching them navigation as part of a training program.

The story was found to be untrue, and charges in people smuggling were brought against him.

Charles Lynch's legal team said he was just the pilot, rather than the organiser, and that he had been tempted by a one-off opportunity to make money. They said he was 'ashamed' by what he had done.

Credit: National Crime Agency

Sentencing him at Portsmouth Crown Court, Judge David Melville QC told Lynch: "You are a resourceful, experienced and professional criminal."

He said that Lynch had "exploited" the migrants, adding: "These were eight refugees and they had been persuaded you would be driving them to England."

Lynch will also serve the 902 days outstanding from his previous unfinished jail sentence.