Traffickers convicted of smuggling migrants across English Channel

|News, International and organised crime

Six men who trafficked migrants across the English Channel in small boats have been convicted today.

The men had denied involvement in the operation but a jury at the Old Bailey convicted them all of ferrying non-EU migrants into the UK from France between April 1 and August 14, 2016.

The convicted defendants included father and son Leonard Powell, 66, and Alfie Powell, 39. The CPS case was that the pair were at the heart of the operation and organised the transportation of the migrants with the assistance of the other defendants.
 
Wayne Bath, 39, Albert Letchford, 42, helped the Powells with the practicalities of the operation such as towing, storing and crewing their vessels.

Saba Dulaj, 23, and Artur Nutaj, 39, acted as ‘travel agents’ and were involved in sourcing and communicating with the migrants. They also helped with providing onward transport after the Channel crossing and enabling the migrants to disappear once they had entered the UK.

The court heard that migrants are believed to have paid around £5,500 to be smuggled across the Channel.

In preparation for the trial, the CPS worked with the National Crime Agency and French law enforcement in order to obtain surveillance of migrants heading to the beach at Coquelles, near Calais in northern France.

A CPS criminal justice advisor based in Paris facilitated the assistance provided by the French authorities.

Rose-Marie Franton, from the CPS, said:

“This was a professional and profitable enterprise and was carried out with scant regard for the risks involved or the lives concerned.

“The defendants involved in the conspiracy were aware of the nature of the criminal enterprise in which they had chosen to become involved.   

“Thanks to the close partnership between the CPS, the National Crime Agency and the French authorities, the prosecution was able to bring the strongest possible case to court.”

The defendants will be sentenced at a later date along with Leonard’s other son, George Powell, 41, who pleaded guilty to the same charge earlier this year.

Notes to editors

•   Rose-Marie Franton is head of the CPS Organised Crime Division

Convicted:
•    Wayne Bath (18.06.79) was charged and found guilty of one count of conspiracy to facilitate the commission of a breach of the immigration law of the United Kingdom, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977
•    Albert Letchford (13.03.76) was charged and found guilty of one count of conspiracy to facilitate the commission of a breach of the immigration law of the United Kingdom, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977
•    Leonard Powell (10.12.51) was charged and found guilty of one count of conspiracy to facilitate the commission of a breach of the immigration law of the United Kingdom, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977
•    George Powell (07.08.76) pleaded guilty to one count of one count of conspiracy to facilitate the commission of a breach of the immigration law of the United Kingdom, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977
•    Alfie Powell (11.03.79) was charged and found guilty of one count of conspiracy to facilitate the commission of a breach of the immigration law of the United Kingdom, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977
•    Sabah Dulaj (28.07.94) was charged and found guilty of one count of conspiracy to facilitate the commission of a breach of the immigration law of the United Kingdom, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977
•    Artur Nutaj (17.01.79) was charged and found guilty of one count of conspiracy to facilitate the commission of a breach of the immigration law of the United Kingdom, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977

Acquitted:
•    Alan Viles (13.09.90) was charged and found not guilty of one count of conspiracy to facilitate the commission of a breach of the immigration law of the United Kingdom, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977
•    Francis Wade (11.02.59) was charged and found not guilty of one count of conspiracy to facilitate the commission of a breach of the immigration law of the United Kingdom, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977

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