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Irishman given three-year jail sentence for trying to smuggle migrants into UK in roof box of his car

Robert Rooney pleaded guilty to violating UK immigration law at Canterbury Crown Court.

An image of the migrants in the roof box
An image of the migrants in the roof box
Image: UK Home Office

A BRITISH COURT has jailed an Irish man for three years for attempting to sneak three Vietnamese nationals into the UK by cramming them into the roof box of his car.

Pictures released by the UK interior ministry showed the three individuals – who included a 15-year-old girl – being helped out of the white container box strapped to the top of the man’s black sedan.

The interior ministry said the three were discovered last October by the UK Border Force during a routine check of Robert Rooney’s car in a British-control zone near the northern French port of Calais.

2.50832030 Robert Rooney Source: PA

Rooney pleaded guilty to violating UK immigration law and was sentenced by the Canterbury Crown Court in the southeast of England.

Britain’s immigration enforcement authority deputy chief Dave Fairclough said Rooney went abroad on the pretence of going for a fishing trip and to meet his brother.

“In fact his motive was much more sinister,” he told the BBC.

“This was a determined effort to go and meet with people smugglers based in Calais. He had an arrangement with them to collect the three clandestine migrants.”

The incident occurred less than three weeks before 39 Vietnamese migrants were found dead in a refrigerated trailer that was left abandoned near a warehouse east of London.

- © AFP 2020

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