On 25th July a gang of ten traffickers and money launderers led by two Kurdish men resident in Hastings and St Leonards were each sentenced to long periods of imprisonment following trials in Woolwich Crown Court.
Alan Hoger of Kenilworth Road, St Leonards and Goran Ahmed of Farley Bank, Hastings, found to be the ringleaders, were jailed for ten and eight years respectively.
The court heard evidence that the gang transported prospective migrants to Belgium, then transferred them to lorries heading to the UK by cross-Channel ferry, hiding either in the cab, on top of the cab in the wind deflector, or underneath the trailer on a pallet shelf.
The going rate, paid by members of migrants’ families once they had made the crossing successfully, was between £8,000 and £10,000 per individual.
Former owner of Delboys discount store in Castle Street, Hedy Shekha, has been ordered to pay up £14,459 within three months in respect of profits from illegal tobacco selling or face 12 months in jail.
He was convicted in January of selling ‘fake’ cigarettes that bore the trademarks of well-known brands and didn’t comply with UK law requiring plain packaging – detection dogs had sniffed out 21 packs hidden under stairs at the shop – and was given a 12-month community order. Now East Sussex County Council (ESCC) has successfully obtained a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
We hope you have enjoyed reading this article. The future of our volunteer led, non-profit publication would be far more secure with the aid of a small donation. You can also support local journalism by becoming a friend of HIP. It only takes a minute and we would be very grateful.