Lorry driver who tried to sneak 4 illegal migrants out of UK is jailed

Romanian lorry driver, 35, who tried to sneak four illegal migrants out of UK – ‘under plan to dodge deportation order and smuggle them back in’ – is jailed for nearly three years

  • Marius Halmaghe, 35, was arrested at the Port of Dover in Kent on October 1
  • Two Bangladeshis, one Indian and one Egyptian were hidden in rear of the trailer
  • They may have been leaving the country to evade deportation with the intention of returning to the UK again 

A Romanian lorry driver who attempted to smuggle four migrants out of the UK – thought to be as part of a plan to dodge a deportation order and smuggle them back in – has been jailed.

Marius Halmaghe, 35, was arrested at the Port of Dover, Kent at around 1.30pm on October 1.

Officers from the National Crime Agency found four men – two Bangladeshis, one Indian and one Egyptian – hidden in the rear of the trailer.

They were all suspected of having been in the UK illegally and detained by immigration enforcement.

Marius Halmaghe, 35, (pictured) was arrested at the Port of Dover, Kent at around 1.30pm on October 1 after attempted to smuggle four migrants out of the UK – thought to be as part of a plan to dodge a deportation order and smuggle them back in

He was handcuffed and pictured wearing a disposable face mask, grey tracksuit bottoms, a Hi Vis jacket over a black Puma hoodie and grey t-shirt.

The HGV had been booked on a ferry to Calais later that day.

Halmaghe, from Tulcea in Romania, was charged with facilitating illegal immigration and pleaded guilty at Canterbury Crown Court. He was sentenced to 31 months in prison on Friday. 

It is not clear at this stage why these migrants were on their way out of the UK but there have been previous instances where migrants have allegedly left the country to evade deportation with the intention of returning to the UK again.

In 2015 an undercover BBC investigation showed 21 migrants in the back of a lorry on board a ferry from Dover to Dunkirk that were thought to be using this method. 

Officers from the National Crime Agency found four men – two Bangladeshis, one Indian and one Egyptian – hidden in the rear of the trailer (pictured) 

Once on the continent, migrants can apply for asylum and if successful, are likely to be returned to their chosen EU country instead of their homeland.  

National Crime Agency branch operations manager Chris Hill said: ‘Halmaghe was involved in a dangerous criminal enterprise which not just broke immigration laws, it also put those migrants at serious risk.

‘It just goes to demonstrate how criminals involved in people smuggling do not care about the safety or wellbeing of those they transport, they just see them as a commodity.

‘People smugglers are seeking to maximise their profits utilising both inbound and outbound lorry movements.’

Halmaghe’s sentencing came the same day as another Romanian trucker and his girlfriend were arrested by the NCA on suspicion of attempting to smuggle migrants out of the UK.

Mihai Postolache, 24, was arrested behind the wheel of a HGV on Friday carrying five migrants on the outskirts of Dover.

Halmaghe, (pictured) from Tulcea in Romania, was charged with facilitating illegal immigration and pleaded guilty at Canterbury Crown Court. He was sentenced to 31 months in prison on Friday

His lover Roxana Stan, also 24, was also detained.

The pair were charged with facilitation offences and were due to appear at Medway Magistrates Court yesterday.

During the BBC’s 2015 undercover investigation Afghan journalist Ajmal, who posed as an illegal immigrant in the back of the lorry, was told by a UK-based people smuggler he could be smuggled out of the country almost any day of the week for £300.

Once he was dropped off in Belgium, he was told the gang could smuggle him back for a return trip fee of £1,200.

The Port of Dover said they would be introducing exit checks at the border in April of that year.

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