• Watch: How Robert Rooney tried to pretend he didn't know the three Vietnamese nationals were in his roof box

A man has been jailed for three years for trying to smuggle three Vietnamese nationals in a roof box to Kent.

Robert Rooney allowed the two men and a 15-year-old girl to cram inside the air-tight container on October 5th 2018 in a calculated and planned operation.

He was stopped by the Border Force at Coquelles near Calais as he was about to drive onto the Eurotunnel bound for Folkestone.

Robert Rooney would've received thousands of pounds for smuggling the Vietnamese nationals in Credit:

Rooney claimed he was in France visiting his brother on a fishing trip and initially denied any knowledge of having the three nationals on top of his car, telling officials he didn't have a key for the roof box.

Upon further investigation, the three people from Vietnam were discovered with the Home Office warning they could've died if they had made the crossing.

Experts believe the three people might not have survived if the journey was made. Credit: Home Office

"Our expert view is that you could've been looking at fatalities. They were found in a fairly distressed state, completely pitch black and no ventilation. I think if they had not been detected at that point the subsequent travel through the tunnel, into the UK and onto the M20, would've been at least an hour to an hour and a half before they would've been released. That could've been a pretty precarious situation."

Dave Fairclough, Deputy Director of Immigration Enforcement Criminal and Financial Investigations