Gang smuggling Sri Lankans into the UK jailed

Archana Venkatraman

A gang of four Sri Lankans and one Briton that brought illegal immigrants from Sri Lanka to the UK has been jailed for 23 years following an immigration investigation.

UK Border Agency officials

The criminal gang smuggled Sri Lankans into the UK from France by smuggling them in vehicles through the channel ports, found the investigation by Kent Police, the National Crime Agency (NCA), Europol and French, German and Swiss law enforcement agencies.

The five members charged a fee of £4,500 to help their Sri Lankan 'clients'. Of those who reached the UK, some would travel onwards from the UK to North America using falsified documents, according to the border control agency.

The gang’s leader Sudharsan Jeyakodi, 37, from Luton, has been jailed for 5 years while his accomplices Kamalanesan Kandiah, 39, Chubramanian Vignarajah, 42, British national Amarjit Mudhar, 46, and John Anes Soundaranayagam Uvais, 41, were also jailed.

Some of their smuggling attempts were foiled as UKBA officers discovered stowaways hiding in vehicles stopped at ports including Calais, Dunkerque, Coquelles and Dover.

“This international organised crime gang conspired to smuggle desperate people into the UK purely for their own financial gain. They were major players in bringing Sri Lankan nationals to the UK illegally but thanks to the cooperation of agencies across Europe they have been stopped,” said David Fairclough, a Home Office official.

“People smuggling is a serious crime, which preys on some of society's most vulnerable people. This investigation demonstrates that we will stop at nothing to track down those responsible, no matter where they are in the world,” warned Fairclough.

The UKBA is now working at finding the Sri Lankan individuals who were helped to enter the UK illegally.

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