Mi­grant smug­gle foot­baller is jailed

Daily Star Sunday - - NEWS -

FOOT­BALLER Fabrice Lokem­boLokaso has been jailed for try­ing to smug­gle ten Afghan mi­grants into Eng­land.

The Bel­gian striker, 33, was stopped by French port po­lice as he pre­pared to drive a fur­ni­ture van on to a Dover-bound ferry at Dunkirk.

Four men, four chil­dren and two women, in­clud­ing a preg­nant mum-to-be, were found in­side.

Pros­e­cu­tor Eric Fouard told Dunkirk district court Lokembo-Lokaso picked up the mi­grants at the no­to­ri­ous Jun­gle refugee camp near Calais.

He said: “This isn’t the first smug­gling at­tempt of this type, but 10 mi­grants at one time is a lot.”

Congo-born Lokem­boLokaso told the judge: “A guy in Brus­sels called TAR­GET: Dunkirk ferry Malik in­vited me to de­liver some fur­ni­ture to Eng­land, and I had no idea what the van con­tained.

“When I reached Calais an­other man, named Al, told me what was go­ing on and of­fered me 1,000 eu­ros per head to trans­port these ten peo­ple.

“Ev­ery­thing hap­pened very quickly. I have a lot of debts, I am un­der pres­sure, so I said I would do it.

“I had never done any­thing sim­i­lar be­fore, and I am very sorry as that’s not the sort of per­son I am.”

Lokembo-Lokaso pre­vi­ously served three months in jail for drugs of­fences in 2012.

The foot­baller, who has played for Bel­gian side Charleroi and clubs in Is­rael and Cyprus, was jailed for 10 months.

He will be de­ported after his sen­tence and banned from re-en­ter­ing France for three years. MORE than 5,000 Syr­i­ans have been caught en­ter­ing the UK il­le­gally in the past three-and-a-half years.

The shock­ing fig­ures will raise fears that ter­ror­ists pos­ing as refugees have sneaked in.

Last week a Syr­ian refugee hacked to death a preg­nant woman with a meat­cleaver in a hor­ror at­tack in Germany.

In­for­ma­tion ob­tained by the Daily Star Sun­day shows the num­ber of il­le­gal im­mi­grants en­ter­ing Bri­tain from the war-torn coun­try is in­creas­ing at an alarm­ing rate.

Last year 2,227 pa­per­less Syr­i­ans were ar­rested and held in the UK – around 42 a week, a free­dom of in­for­ma­tion re­quest re­vealed.

The fig­ure is up from 1,442 the pre­vi­ous year and just 882 in 2013. At least 1,000 more are al­ready be­lieved to have been ar­rested and de­tained this year.

In Oc­to­ber alone last year, two months be­fore the UK launched its first air strikes on the coun­try, 509 Syr­i­ans were ar­rested.

In Fe­bru­ary 2012, the cor­re­spond­ing num­ber was just seven, in­di­cat­ing the scale of the in­flux.

By De­cem­ber last year, 70% of Syr­ian il­le­gals had been granted tem­po­rary ad­mis­sion or re­lease by im­mi­grant chiefs and are feared to have gone miss­ing.

JAILED: Lokembo-Lokaso CRAMMED: Il­le­gals found in Kent ear­lier this year CAUGHT: An illegal immigrant’s de­tained

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