Pair smuggled nine Kuwaitis into Hull hidden in truck
TWO men who smuggled nine illegal immigrants into Hull have been jailed for a total of 11 years.
Tarik Mohammed, 42, and Mohammed Al-Kulefi, 40, hid the men behind clothing in the back of a lorry and brought them into King George Dock on a ferry.
A port official became suspicious and made Mohammed open the truck. He then discovered the nine men hidden inside.
The men, all from Kuwait, had paid up to £4,400 each to be smuggled into Hull.
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Judge Jeremy Baker QC sentenced Mohammed to five years in prison and Al-Kulefi to six years.
He told them: "It's not clear how many others were involved in this scheme besides yourself. However, I'm satisfied you were both effectively the UK-side of the enterprise. No doubt there were others involved in Europe.
"It is not clear precisely the amount you were to have earned.
"There was a substantial number of illegal immigrants and this was clearly a commercial enterprise for financial gain."
Mohammed and Al-Kulefi had bought the truck in Sheffield for the operation. They repainted it to make it look like a retail lorry.
Al-Kulefi left the UK on June 6 last year and travelled through France, Belgium and the Netherlands, picking up the people to smuggle.
On June 15 he returned on the ferry from Rotterdam to Hull and was stopped at the docks.
Port officials seized his phone and he received 27 missed calls from Moh- ammed.
The police traced Mohammed through his phone and because he had put his name on the DVLA log when purchasing the van.
Detective Sergeant Andy Norris, of the UK Border Agency, said: "It is an excellent result and should send a clear message to anybody thinking about bringing people into the country illegally. It will not be tolerated by us or the courts.
"We have sophisticated controls in place to catch people smuggling."
Mohammed and Al-Kulefi both pleaded guilty to nine counts of people trafficking.
Simon Walker, regional director at the UK Border Agency, said: "People smuggling is a serious crime, which exploits some of society's most vulnerable and desperate people. The sentences handed out today reflect the severity with which those involved can expect to be treated.
"This case demonstrates the controls we have in place at all our borders. It also illustrates the resources that the UK Border Agency is able to call on to make sure that those who seek to abuse the UK immigration system are brought to justice."