Channel drone footage helps convict people smuggler

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Media caption,

People smuggler's boat filmed by drone in Channel

A people smuggler has been jailed after an unmanned drone filmed him piloting a migrant boat across the Channel.

Aerial footage showed Rebwar Ahmed, 36, from Iraq, steering an inflatable carrying 20 other people on 12 July.

The boat was intercepted by a Border Force cutter and brought to Kent.

Ahmed, who previously admitted assisting unlawful immigration into the UK at Canterbury Crown Court, was jailed for two years and seven months on Wednesday.

The Home Office said Ahmed was the second person in recent weeks to be sentenced in cases where drone footage was crucial to the conviction.

Photographs were taken of all people on the boat at Dover, and Ahmed was later identified as the person seen in the footage captured by a Tekever AR5 unmanned aerial vehicle, a government spokesman said.

Clandestine Channel Threat Commander Dan O'Mahoney said: "With our own aerial assets, those provided by the Ministry of Defence and by the coastguard, we have more surveillance of the Channel than ever before.

"Those eyes in the sky are not only helping to protect lives, but are also securing valuable evidence to support criminal prosecutions."

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