A gang ringleader has been jailed for smuggling hundreds of migrants, including children, into Britain inside refrigerated lorries. Alket Dauti, a UK-based Albanian, worked with corrupt lorry drivers to bring people into the country illegally via the Channel ports.
He was arrested in June at his home in Penge, south-east London, as part of a joint UK-Belgian investigation into organised crime.
The 31-year-old was convicted in his absence by a court in Belgium last month and has now been sent there to serve his ten year sentence and also been fined £625,000.
Two other men, described as his 'lieutenants', were Sentenced to eight years each and await extradition. Belgian prosecutors believe the gang made hundreds of attempts to smuggle migrants into the UK.
Only some were stopped by the Border Force. The National Crime Agency's Andrea Wilson said: 'Dauti treated desperate migrants as commodities he could make money from. He was perfectly happy to risk their lives on incredibly dangerous journeys in the backs of lorries.'
She added: 'Through our close working with the Belgian Federal Police and prosecutors, we have taken out a significant organised crime group involved in bringing migrants to the UK illegally. Dauti was head of that group.'