Four men jailed for smuggling 29 Vietnamese people into Britain on small yacht

Convicted smugglers 'traded in human misery' and were concerned only with profit, said judge

Claire Hayhurst
Tuesday 25 February 2020 13:17
Four jailed for smuggling 29 Vietnamese people into Britain on small yacht

Four men who smuggled 29 Vietnamese people into Britain on a small yacht before forcing them into the back of a van have been jailed.

Devon and Cornwall Police were contacted on 12 April last year after several members of the public saw a group of people getting off a boat in Newlyn Harbour, Cornwall.

They were then seen getting into the back of a van which had been parked in the harbour car park.

CCTV footage was reviewed and the van, followed by another car, was stopped on the M5 near Cullompton, Devon.

The van door was opened and officers found 29 Vietnamese people inside, some of whom were children.

They were taken to a multi-agency reception centre and referred to the Home Office and social care services to be managed, Devon and Cornwall Police said.

Two men were arrested in Newlyn Harbour, and two more were held when the van and car were brought to a stop on the M5.

Judge Robert Linford, sentencing the four at Truro Crown Court, said they were motivated by profit and “traded in human misery” with the victims “carted around like freight”, police said.

Speaking after the case, detective inspector Glenn Willcocks said: “The vessel was in a poor state, smelling strongly of diesel and cluttered with clothing and empty food wrappings.

“The boat would have been extremely cramped with all 29 people having to share a single toilet.

“The four convicted today risked the lives of 29 men, women and children without any appreciation of the danger of their circumstances.

“They were motivated only by monetary reward and thankfully no one paid the ultimate price.”

Jon Ransom from Kent, Glen Bennett from Burnley, and Frank Walling from Colne were sentenced to four and a half years in prison, police said.

Keith Plummer was sentenced to three years and four months.

They were convicted under section 25 of the Immigration Act, which concerns assisting unlawful immigration.

It is believed that the 29 victims boarded the yacht, which was called the Johan Sebastian and owned by Walling, in northwest France.

Walling and Bennett crewed the yacht, which came into Newlyn Harbour early on the morning of 12 April.

Ann Hampshire, senior crown prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service, described the trip as “carefully planned”.

She said it was a “well organised operation involving people and places in different parts of the UK, carefully co-ordinated to facilitate illegal entry into the UK”.

Press Association

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in