Romanian smuggler who trafficked refugees into Britain is jailed for more than ... trends now
A Romanian people-smuggler who trafficked Afghan refugees into the UK hidden inside 'coffin-like' wardrobes in 'barbaric' conditions has been jailed.
Children as young as two were among 35 people found 'literally fixed and screwed' into second-hand furniture in vans driven from France to Britain.
A court heard the refugees were found screaming for their lives at ports in Dover and Portsmouth between August and October, 2019.
Five men have previously been sentenced at Reading Crown Court for their roles but a sixth, Constantin, 36, fled to his native Romania.
Constantin was jailed today for three years and two months at Birmingham Crown Court after being extradited back to the UK to face justice.
Constantin was jailed today for three years and two months at Birmingham Crown Court after being extradited back to the UK to face justice
Children as young as two were among 35 people found 'literally fixed and screwed' into second-hand furniture in vans driven from France to Britain
During the sentencing, Judge Sarah Buckingham told Constantin 'You helped to traffic them in appalling circumstances for financial reward, 'They were transported like chattel'
He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to facilitate a breach of UK immigration laws and failing to surrender to bail
The court was told Constantin, of Walsall, West Midlands, acted as a 'minder' to assist gang members with transporting vans and drivers to France from Dover.
The hides, bought from charity shops and from which the migrants had no way of escaping, were used to conceal up to seven people per journey.
During the sentencing, Judge Sarah Buckingham told Constantin: 'In 2019 you were part of a group who travelled to and from France using a van bought specifically for this purpose, using different routes and sometimes travelling on false plates.
'The vans would contain second hand furniture bought from charity shops and then customised in order to conceal people inside the furniture and then transported back to the UK.
'Human beings were literally fixed or screwed inside furniture that were put into the vans.
'The space was confined, a confined space and hot and enclosed with little air. This was repeated and motivated by financial gain.
'It was not motivated for humanitarian reasons. You were not helping out desperate family members, rather, strangers.
'No doubt who had paid a lot of money to be transported who were, by their situation, age and circumstances, highly vulnerable.