Kent

130 people convicted for smuggling migrants into Britain

Migrants in the Channel back in August were escorted by French officials, and given over to the care of British Border Force Image copyright AJM Images
Image caption Migrants in the Channel back in August were escorted by French officials, and given over to the care of British Border Force

More than 100 people were convicted of people smuggling in 2019, the Home Office has revealed.

At least 1,892 migrants successfully crossed the Channel during the year on small boats, and a further 1,235 were intercepted by French authorities.

New figures show 30 people were also convicted in France for the same crime.

Tony Eastaugh, Home Office director for crime and enforcement, said: "The cooperation we are seeing with French authorities is paying dividends."

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption HMC Searcher, one of the Border Force vessels

The 130 people convicted in Britain incurred a total of 320 years of prison time.

Those in France were given custodial sentences of up to six years per person.

On New Year's Eve alone 49 migrants were picked up by British and French authorities.

Mr Eastaugh said: "We are tackling illegal migrant crossings on all fronts... We have three vessels in the Channel, extra patrols on French beaches, drones, specialist vehicles and detection equipment has been deployed to stop small boats leaving French shores.

"There are multiple live investigations ongoing and we look for every opportunity to gather evidence and intelligence to disrupt and bring to justice these criminals."

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