Trucker suspected of people smuggling out of UK

Part of the M25 was closed and an HGV driver arrested after police suspected him of moving migrants out of the UK.

A National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation led to 16 people found concealed in the HGV trailer on the motorway’s junction with the A3 on 21 March. The migrants, Moroccan, Algerian and Pakistani nationals, were sitting on pallets that been laid across the load to accommodate them.

The M25 anti-clockwise exit slip road had to be closed for a short period of time while the lorry and migrants were dealt with by the NCA and police. They were all arrested on suspicion of immigration offences and will now be dealt with by the immigration authorities. The 36-year-old Turkish lorry driver was arrested on suspicion of people smuggling and moving migrants out of the UK illegally via the Channel ports.

The operation was conducted with the support of the Metropolitan Police and Surrey Police. Chris Hill, NCA branch operations manager, said: “People smuggling networks move migrants in both directions across the border, threatening the security of both the UK and our European neighbours, but also putting lives at risk.

“Working with our partners across UK law enforcement we are determined to do all we can to disrupt those networks. Today’s operation is an example of that in action.”


Covid spread risk raises TC’s ire

A Romanian transport manager that turned up to a public inquiry from the airport without quarantining has been criticised by the traffic commissioner.

TC Richard Turfitt was forced to cancel a Cambridge PI after hearing that the director of RBT Logistics, Florin Stoica, had driven proposed transport manager Florin Pop to the tribunal on the day he arrived from Romania. The operator sought a standard international licence for three vehicles and three trailers in Stanford Le Hope, but due to the failure by Stoica to inform the office of the TC that his previous business, Maya Logistics, had become insolvent he was called to attend a PI to discuss his new business.

In a written decision, the TC said it was only due to the “quick thinking” of the operator’s solicitor, Michelle O’Garro, who alerted his office that Pop had just arrived from Romania and should have been quarantining himself under Covid-19 rules, that prevented the potential spread of the disease.

Turfitt said: “Having failed to quarantine, they caused potential risk to other members of the public and potentially to the legal representative and members of the tribunal staff.”

During the rescheduled PI, it became apparent that the operator lacked the financial standing to operate three vehicles and so it was revised down to one HGV instead. The TC expressed concerns about how continuous and effective management would be achieved, but he granted authority for three months, “by which time the applicant must satisfy me to the civil standard of proof that the statutory criteria are met,” he added.