A Businessman who took a large share of £6m for his part in a people-smuggling trade was captured after he offered an undercover detective £10,000 to bring scores of Indian men into Britain.
The National Crime Squad officer, posing as a lorry driver, accepted the offer of £500 per illegal immigrant and had collected 21 men in a 40-ton articulated lorry before stopping near Essen, in Germany, where he and other officers opened the doors on the men, who were cowering "in a frightened state and in terrible conditions", Newcastle upon Tyne Crown Court was told.
Kashmir Singh Nanan, who arrived in England from India as an illegal immigrant, married an English woman in 1992 and became the North-east kingpin of the international trade, was immediately apprehended at one of his shops in the Birtley area of Gateshead, Tyneside, the court was told.
Nanan, 36, had been expected to deny accusations that the four off-licences, curry house and corner shop he ran were a front for his more lucrative occupation. But yesterday he admitted facilitating the entry of illegal immigrants into the UK, and was remanded in custody and told to expect a hefty prison sentence. He will be sentenced in three weeks' time.
Judge John Walford told Nanan: "There has to be a substantial prison sentence to punish you and also to deter others as unscrupulous and greedy as those who commit these offences are.
"Deterrent sentences are required in these cases and the most effective deterrent will not only be limited to substantial custodial sentences, but also substantial financial penalties."
Detective Inspector Michael Fishwick, who led the investigation, said it had exposed how human shipments were completed in stages so that the immigrants could work to scrape together enough cash for the next leg of their journey.