Birmingham & Black Country

Security pair jailed for Birmingham Airport smuggling

Imtiaz Ahmed and Ghulam Sarwar
Image caption Imtiaz Ahmed and Ghulam Sarwar worked for private contractor ICTS

Two security workers have been jailed for helping to smuggle illegal immigrants through Birmingham Airport.

Imtiaz Ahmed and Ghulam Sarwar, who both worked for private contractor ICTS, allowed passengers with forged passports from India on to flights to Canada.

Ahmed, 45, from Balsall Heath, was sentenced to four years and Sarwar, 31, from Alum Rock, was given three years.

Nine others admitted fraud offences at Birmingham Crown Court.

They included Povytar Singh Rai, from Handsworth, who led the gang behind the plot. He was jailed for 18 months.

Ahmed was the only one of the group to deny the charges and was jailed for fraud by false representation after a trial in Birmingham.

The judge said the scheme had "seriously compromised airport and aircraft security".

'Corrupt contractors'

The court heard a person carrying a genuine passport would check in on a flight, before passing their boarding card over to someone carrying a fake passport in the same name.

That person would then pass through airport security, helped by Ahmed and Sarwar.

The National Crime Agency said the UK passport holder would be paid between £200 and £300 for their part in the scheme.

Richard Warner, National Crime Agency Birmingham branch commander, said: "All the offences committed by these individuals were serious, but the roles played by the corrupt airline contractors were key to the conspiracy.

"In bringing them to justice we have dismantled an organised crime network responsible for serious attempts to circumvent airport and airline procedures and smuggle people across international borders."

ICTS UK Ltd said it had cooperated with the authorities and helped police in investigating and bringing to trial the security staff accused of involvement in immigration fraud. It said it would not be commenting further.

A spokesperson for Birmingham Airport said: "At no point was aviation security compromised as everyone involved went through the required security screening checks."

Aviation security analyst, Chris Yates said the case "raised concerns for every air traveller".

He said: "Wherever you have a private contractor within the airport, there's always the potential for corruption.

"It's one of those things the aviation industry has dealt with time and again over the years and I've no doubt it will happen again."

Sentenced for fraud by false representation:

  • Ghulam Sarwar, 31, from Alum Rock, was jailed for three years
  • Imtiaz Ahmed, 45, from Balsall Heath, was jailed for four years
  • Povytar Singh Rai, 44, from Handsworth, was jailed for 18 months
  • Davinder Kandola, 30, from Essex, was jailed for 18 months
  • Sarb Singh Rai, 34, from Leamington Spa, was given a 14-month suspended sentence
  • Gurtej Deol, 29, from Handsworth, was given a 10-month suspended sentence
  • Narinder Sidhu, 46, from Bilston, as given a 10-month suspended sentence

Sentenced for fraud:

  • Pardeep Singh, 21, from Winson Green, was jailed for 10 months
  • Verjinder Johal, 23, from Bearwood, was jailed for 10 months
  • Sandeep Mann, 26, from Smethwick was jailed for 10 months
  • Sunil Shubh , 21, from Smethwick, was jailed for eight months

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