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Mother-of-four guilty of trying to smuggle people into Kent

A mother-of-four broke down in tears today as she was found guilty of trying to smuggle people from France into Kent.

Katy Bethel, from Gillingham, and her boyfriend Aaron Harris were stopped by Border Control officers at Eurotunnel in France. In the back of a hired van, officials found twelve Vietnamese nationals - including some children - crammed into tyres.

Police said the pair gave no thought to the safety of their human cargo.
The judge warned Katy Bethel she faces a long spell in prison.

Tom Savvides reports.

Sailor jailed for smuggling Albanians into Sussex

A British sailor has been jailed for four years and nine months for smuggling 17 immigrants into a south coast marina - as it emerged he is wanted in connection with a murder in Spain.

Stephen Jackson, 51, was sentenced on Friday after pleading guilty to assisting unlawful immigration by sailing a boat-load of Albanian men aged 20 to 44 into Chichester Marina in West Sussex on 23 May.

At Lewes Crown Court, it was revealed that a European Arrest Warrant has been issued for Jackson for allegedly perverting the course of justice in connection with a murder in Spain.

The case reportedly relates to the disappearance of 32-year-old Scot Lisa Brown, originally from Alexandria in West Dunbartonshire, who was last seen in November last year.

Demand for 'designer dogs' fuels illegal puppy trade

It's a sad reality but the demand for designer dogs - at this time of year - is fuelling the illegal puppy trade.

Tiny Pugs, French Bulldogs and Chow Chow puppies are being smuggled into Britain from Europe to be sold online to unsuspecting families.

Many are unwell, unvaccinated and taken from their mothers too young. Our Correspondent, Derek Johnson has been to a quarantine kennel where puppies are being cared for.


Smuggler's plan to avoid £32m in duty goes pear-shaped

The cigarettes were concealed in loads of pears Credit: HMRC

A lorry driver who smuggled more than 147 million cigarettes into the UK hidden behind crates of rotting pears has been jailed for almost seven years. The cigarettes were worth an estimated £32 million in lost duty.

HM Revenue and Customs officers foiled Hans Verhoeven’s plan in July 2014 when they stopped him at The Junction 26 Truck Stop, off the M25 near Waltham Abbey, in Essex.

The 45-year-old told officers he was transporting fruit and bread, but when they opened the container they found vast quantities of cigarettes.

Verhoeven was arrested and later admitted making at least 18 smuggling runs in the past, each time carrying a similar load packed behind crates of pears.

Verhoeven smuggled huge quantities of cigarettes into the UK, costing the taxpayer tens of millions of pounds in lost duty - money that should have been providing vital public services.

These offences have a devastating impact on honest retailers who struggle to compete with the black market in illicit cigarettes and tobacco, costing the country £2.1 billion in lost revenue each year.


Two million pounds worth of heroin and cocaine hidden in lorry

The Port of Dover Credit: Press Association

Border Force officers have seized approximately 13 kilos of cocaine and six kilos of heroin at Dover’s Eastern Docks. The drugs have a combined potential street value in excess of £2 million.

On Sunday officers at the UK inward freight controls intercepted a Slovenian-registered lorry. When they searched the vehicle officers found the drugs hidden within the load of mixed goods. A 41-year-old Slovenian man has been bailed while further investigations by Border Force are carried out.

Border Force seizes 2 tonnes of tobacco at Dover

Border Force officers have seized more than two tonnes of hand rolling tobacco being smuggled into the UK through Dover on a lorry. Officers stopped an Italian-registered lorry after it arrived from Calais on a ferry on 19th January.

After questioning the Romanian driver, Border Force officers searched the lorry and found the tobacco hidden under the a cargo of cheese. Officials say the haul could have cost the Treasury about £328,000 in unpaid excise duty.

"These detections show that our Border Force officers are on constant alert, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to keep illegal goods out of the UK. Anyone who smuggles tobacco for commercial gain is effectively stealing from the public purse and from law-abiding taxpayers. We will continue to work with HM Revenue & Customs to bring smugglers to justice."

– Paul Morgan, Director Border Force South East & Europe
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