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Three Isle of Wight men jailed for smuggling people to the UK

|News, International and organised crime

Three men have been jailed for between three and eight years today (18 March 2022) at Newport Crown Court for conspiracy to facilitate the unlawful entry of Albanian nationals to the UK.

Jean-Pierre Labelle, aged 45 and from Ryde, Stephen Redhead, aged 47 and from Shanklin, and Christopher Barber, aged 55 and also from Shanklin, conspired together to bring migrants illegally to the UK by boat on two occasions.

Labelle played a primary role in organising and arranging two trips to Cherbourg, France, having also been involved in the acquisition of vessels to undertake the journeys. He was also responsible for recruiting others with the necessary expertise to successfully get the vessels to and from France.

Labelle recruited Redhead, who had good knowledge of one vessel they used, called the “Anore”. In turn, Redhead recruited Barber who had engineering expertise. All three were clearly motivated by financial gain, and gave very little regard to the safety of the people they were transporting to the UK.

The “Anore” had been poorly maintained, and the second vessel used to make the trip from Cherbourg, called the “Freedom”, only had one lifejacket on board when it was intercepted by police in France.

Ian Harris, CPS Wessex Senior Crown Prosecutor, said: “The CPS engaged with the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit from an early stage to build a case strategy and ensure there was sufficient evidence to prosecute.

“We are dedicated to prosecuting people who seek to transport others to the UK illegally, often in circumstances that are dangerous and could involve the exploitation of migrants who may be expected to repay significant sums of money for the cost of passage.

“It is vitally important that we continue to disrupt this level of organised crime.”

Notes to editors

  • Jean-Pierre Labelle was sentenced to eight years' imprisonment
  • Stephen Redhead was sentenced to five years' imprisonment
  • Christopher Barber was sentenced to three years' imprisonment

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