Edition 1505
15 December 2018
Edition: 1505

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UK police searching for Portuguese human trafficker

by TPN/PA, in News · 10-11-2017 09:59:00 · 0 Comments

A people smuggler tried to fool sniffer dogs by rubbing chilli powder around a camper van compartment where an Iraqi family were hiding as he tried to smuggle them into the UK.

UK police searching for Portuguese human trafficker


Skelly Monpierre, who was driving the vehicle, was stopped at Harwich International Port in Essex as he disembarked a ferry from the Hook of Holland.


The 28-year-old was convicted of assisting unlawful immigration into the UK following an earlier trial at Chelmsford Crown Court and was jailed for three years on Wednesday, a Border Force spokesman said.


The hired camper van was stopped on February 21 2016, with French national Monpierre driving and co-conspirator Patricia Ferreira, 25, as a passenger.


Ferreira, from Portugal, admitted at an earlier hearing to assisting unlawful immigration to the UK but failed to appear at court for sentencing and a warrant has been issued for her arrest.


A Border Force officer had opened a locked rear luggage compartment to search the camper van and discovered four people, a couple and two young children, crammed inside hiding under a sheet.


No signs of forced entry were found to the rear compartment of the camper van.


Monpierre and Ferreira initially claimed that the family must have got into the camper van while it was parked unlocked at a campsite near Rotterdam.


However, text messages found on Ferreira's phone suggested arrangements for the pick-up had been made in advance of the trip.

Stuart Cooper, from the Immigration Enforcement Criminal and Financial Investigation team, said: "This was a deliberate and concerted attempt to evade the UK's immigration controls.


"Monpierre and Ferreira had gone to great lengths to conceal their human cargo, even rubbing chilli powder around the edges of the luggage compartment in an effort to conceal the scent from sniffer dogs."


The family from Iraq were passed to immigration officials and their cases are being dealt with in line with immigration rules.


Monpierre, of Coleridge Gardens, Lincoln, also admitted two charges of possession of class A drugs with intent to supply.

He was sentenced to two years and eight months for each charge to run concurrently.


These concurrent sentences will run consecutively to the three years received for people smuggling, making a total of five years and eight months in prison.


Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Ferreira, whose last known address was Monks Road, Lincoln, is asked to call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.


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Edition 1505
15 December 2018
Edition: 1505

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.



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