Jan 30, London: Five members of a criminal gang including four Sri Lankans have been jailed for smuggling Sri Lankans into the UK through Channel ports.
According to the UK Home Office, the four Sri Lankans and one British national have helped illegal immigrants attempting to reach the UK by smuggling them in vehicles and charging them £4,500 each for the service, The Guardian reported.
Border Force officers who discovered stowaways hiding in vehicles stopped at ports including Calais, Dunkirk, Coquelles and Dover have thwarted many of the smuggling attempts.
A Home Office spokesman has said that some of those who reached the UK, would travel to North America using falsified documents.
He added that investigations were ongoing to find those who had entered the UK illegally.
The gang's ringleader, 37-year-old Sudharsan Jeyakodi from Luton, pleaded guilty in August last year to conspiring to facilitate illegal immigration and was jailed for five years and four months at Maidstone Crown Court.
Chubramanian Vignarajah, 42, from Croydon, also pleaded guilty last year to the same offence and was sentenced to three years and four months imprisonment.
Kamalanesan Kandiah, 39, from Hayes, London, John Anes Soundaranayagam Uvais, 41, of East Ham, London, and British national Amarjit Mudhar, 46, of Northolt, London, were found guilty of the same charge on 17 January following an eight-week trial.
Kandiah and Uvais were jailed for five years each while Mudhar was sentenced to four years and eight months, the spokesman said.
The gang was caught following a Home Office-led investigation, supported by Kent police, the National Crime Agency (NCA), Europol and French, German and Swiss law enforcement agencies.