The Daily Telegraph

Albanian criminals cut off tags with scissors to avoid detection

- By Charles Hymas HOME AFFAIRS EDITOR

ALBANIAN criminals and migrants who have been electronic­ally tagged to prevent them absconding are cutting off their devices in an attempt to escape and evade detection.

One Albanian – tagged after being charged with growing 800 cannabis plants on an illegal farm – boasted on social media how easy it was to cut off his tag using kitchen scissors.

Hundreds of Albanians have been tagged after arriving illegally on small boats across the Channel, as part of their bail conditions for alleged offences or as a precursor to their deportatio­n after being released from prison. Albanians account for 28 per cent of all foreign national offenders who are on tags, according to data obtained by the HM chief inspector of borders and immigratio­n.

As of March, there were 465 Albanian criminals on tags, more than four times the 106 Jamaicans and 75 Poles. This is on top of the record number of Albani- ans entering the UK illegally across the Channel, many of whom are being tagged.

Albanians now account for up to 60 per cent of migrants reaching the UK, with the overall total nearing 30,000 – double the rate in 2021.

The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) has expanded tagging to ease the pressures on overcrowde­d prisons and allow for criminals and illegal migrants to be held securely in the community.

About 15,000 people are currently on tags, with the MOJ aiming to increase the number to 25,000 by 2025.

Anyone removing or breaching their tagging faces being sent to jail. In the

465

The number of Albanian criminals on tags, in the latest figures, in contrast to 106 Jamaicans and 75 Poles

Tiktok video, two Albanians are shown cutting their ankle tags off with scissors. One then posts a separate image of his Crown Prosecutio­n Service (CPS) charge sheet, showing he has been accused of being caught with 800 cannabis plants.

An Albanian source said: “They don’t care if they are tagged. In order to avoid deportatio­n, they go undergroun­d and remove the tags.”

A Probation Service spokesman said: “Those who tamper with tags are reported instantly thanks to sophistica­ted safety measures and face going back to court or prison if they do.”

The Daily Telegraph passed the video to the MOJ. A source said that officials had not been able to identify the man from the video, nor when it was filmed but added that if someone cut off a tag the Probation Service or the police were alerted and the wearer would face further sanction.

The MOJ said the average daily tamper rate was just 0.3 per cent in the 12 months to July 2022.

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