Romanian truck driver trying to smuggle people OUT of UK is jailed
Romanian truck driver caught trying to smuggle people including Bangladeshi paedophile suspect OUT of UK is jailed for six years
- Sebastian Gabriel Podar was stopped at the port of Dover on December 2, 2020
- Nine people were found hiding in the back of his HGV, including ‘paedophile’
- He initially denied the charged but changed plea to guilty halfway through trial
Published: 10:36, 25 May 2021 | Updated: 10:41, 25 May 2021
Sebastian Gabriel Podar (pictured), 48, was booked on a ferry to France when he was stopped at the port of Dover in the early hours of Wednesday, 2 December last year
A lorry driver who tried to smuggle a suspected paedophile and others out of the UK has been jailed.
Sebastian Gabriel Podar, 48, was booked on a ferry to France when he was stopped at the port of Dover in the early hours of Wednesday, 2 December last year.
Nine people were discovered hiding in the back of his HGV, including a 39-year-old Bangladeshi man who was under investigation for child sexual offences by police in Nottinghamshire and has since been charged with 20 offences.
The remaining eight stowaways, of Indian, Algerian and Bangladeshi nationality, were handed to the immigration authorities.
Podar had been pulled over once before, on October 16, in the same lorry, by police in the Edmonton area of north London.
At the time, six people were found hiding in the back of the truck and Podar was charged with two counts of attempting to facilitate a breach of immigration law.
Podar, from Tuzrii in Romania initially denied the charges, but changed his plea to guilty halfway through his trial at Canterbury Crown Court.
His truck was being monitored as part of Operation Symbolry – a long running National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation into an organised crime group alleged to have smuggled hundreds of asylum seekers in and out of the country.
Podar was sentenced to six years behind bars.
A prosecutor on a similar previous case, Emin Kandola, said that migrants may choose to leave the UK for a number of reasons.
Nine people were discovered hiding in the back of his HGV (pictured), including a 39-year-old Bangladeshi man who was under investigation for child sexual offences by police in Nottinghamshire and has since been charged with 20 offences
Alexandru-Dorinel Fuiorea, 29, was caught last October trying to smuggle 17 migrants out of the UK in the back of a lorry and jailed for three years.
Ms Kandola said: ‘One is they have claimed asylum (and failed), are fleeing to visit relatives in another country, or fleeing from the authorities in this country.’
NCA branch operations manager Chris Hill said: ‘Criminal gangs involved in people smuggling need complicit lorry drivers like Podar.
The remaining eight stowaways, of Indian, Algerian and Bangladeshi nationality, were handed to the immigration authorities
‘Their business model depends on it.
For his part Podar saw this as an opportunity to make money, but instead he now faces a long prison sentence far away from home.
‘I hope this sends out a message to others who would consider doing the same.
It simply isn’t worth the risk.
‘People smugglers put lives at risk and we are determined to do all we can to disrupt and dismantle the criminal networks involved.’
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