Smugglers who sailed to Britain on yacht carrying two illegal immigrants jailed for 30 months each 

2 weeks ago 1

Two Ukrainian men who smuggled a pair of illegal immigrants into an upmarket seaside town in a yacht were jailed for 30 months each yesterday. 

Denys Khvatkov, 19, and Bohdan Lutskyi, 39, set off from Holland before mooring at Southwold in Suffolk. 

They were intercepted there by Border Force officials who had been tipped off by Dutch authorities. 

Two Albanian men found on board the boat admitted paying £5,000 each for the trip.

They claimed asylum but have since 'disappeared somewhere into the community', Norwich Crown Court was told. Khvatkov and Lutskyi admitted facilitating illegal immigration.   

In mitigation, the court heard that the operation, sailing from the Netherlands to the UK, was an 'ill-conceived, amateurish plan'.

Denys Khvatkov, 19, (left) and Bohdan Lutskyi, 39, (right) have been jailed for 30 months each after smuggling two Albanian men from Holland to Suffolk

Judge Stephen Holt said: 'On a warm summer's evening, July 31, 8.30pm you sailed in a small yacht into the port of Southwold in Suffolk.

'Border officers were there to greet you.

'One of you was at the helm, Khvatkov, and Lutskyi appeared to be acting as crew to tie the vessel up.

'On board were two Albanians clearly being smuggled into the country.

'They were taken ashore, applied for asylum, were provided with accommodation and promptly disappeared into the community.'

The pair were intercepted by Border Force officials, who had been tipped off by Dutch authorities, before two Albanian men found on board admitted paying £5,000 each for the trip

Paperwork found aboard the yacht showed it was bought in Khvatkov's name on July 14, but the judge said: 'I'm fairly sure he wasn't Mr Big.'

Forged yachting qualifications were also found on board.

He said it was 'clear' that the men were smuggling the two strangers for money, adding: 'I've no doubt there was an organisation behind you and above you and you were the ones who were taking the risk and you're the ones standing in the dock now.'

He told them: 'Illegal immigration into the UK causes huge problems for this country and those already living legally in the community.

'Overcrowded hospitals, overcrowded schools, and the Court of Appeal have said on several occasions that deterrent sentences should be applied in these sort of cases.' 

Khvatkov and Lutskyi are believed to have been working for a criminal gang, prosecutor Adam Norris said.   

The 32ft yacht (pictured) and its equipment have since been confiscated and the two men jailed for 30 months each

Both defendants were jailed for 30 months, and the judge said that once they are released 'I've no doubt the immigration authorities will have you on a plane straight out of the country.'

He ordered that the 32ft yacht and its equipment be confiscated.

Michael Clare, mitigating for Khvatkov, said: 'He's not a wily, business-like importer of human beings.

'He's a young fool who because he has the ability to sail has in all likelihood been put up to doing this job.'

He said it was an 'ill-conceived, amateurish plan', adding: 'He can't even speak English.

'He can say "no" and "I'm 19".'

Khvatkov said he was married without children and worked as a builder in Ukraine, Mr Clare said.

Jude Durr, mitigating for Lutskyi, said that he was 'recruited to this enterprise' and the men 'would have stuck out like a sore thumb' arriving at Southwold.

Lutskyi said he was paid 1,000 US dollars for the job, Mr Durr said, adding that he was a mechanic by trade.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said afterwards: 'These men are shameless, ruthless criminals who have made money by smuggling people into the UK illegally and our law enforcement agencies, at home and abroad, are disrupting these gangs.'

Clandestine Channel Threat Commander Dan O'Mahoney said: 'This was a ruthless people smuggling attempt motivated by financial gain.' 

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