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Gatwick people smuggler sentenced



A West London man who conspired in an attempt to smuggle two people into the UK via Gatwick Airport has been sentenced to two years imprisonment.

Hassan Rahimlou, 36, of Len Freeman Place, Fulham, was convicted of assisting unlawful immigration at Isleworth Crown Court on 24 January, 2020 following an investigation by Immigration Enforcement’s Criminal and Financial Investigation (CFI) team. He was sentenced today (21 February).

Isleworth Crown Court heard an Iranian man and Afghan woman were stopped by a Border Force officer at Gatwick’s South Terminal on 13 February, 2019 who identified that they were travelling on false Czech passports. The pair had arrived on a flight from Naples. They subsequently claimed asylum and their cases are being dealt with in line with the immigration rules.

The case was referred to CFI for further investigation and officers identified booking details – including an address in Wembley and a mobile telephone number – which linked Rahimlou to the incident.

On 28 April, 2019 – while CFI were still gathering evidence against Rahimlou – he was arrested by Essex Police at Stansted Airport  when he was found in possession of a false Belgian identity card.

When Essex officers conducted a search of Rahimlou’s home address they found the Iranian man and Afghan woman who had arrived at Gatwick in the 13 February incident. They also seized a large amount of evidence, including a mobile phone.

While CFI officers continued to examine the evidence seized by Essex Police, Rahimlou was charged in relation to the Stansted incident. He pleaded guilty at the first opportunity to possession of a false identity document with improper intent, contrary to Section 4 of the Identity Documents Act 2010 and was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment at Chelmsford Crown Court on 28 May, 2019.

An analysis of the mobile phone found at his address not only identified booking details for the 13 February flight, but also What’s App messages showing he had arranged production of the Czech documents with an unknown third party. Furthermore, he had been in contact with one of the migrants and provided boarding passes and additional supporting false documents such as bank statements. It was discovered that he had sent messages coaching the migrant on what to say on arrival at Gatwick. Investigators were also able to link him to social media ‘adverts’ offering visas to the UK and other countries, identifying a contact telephone number provided as belonging to him. 

Rahimlou was produced from prison and interviewed by CFI officers under caution on 19 July, 2019. He was charged on 8 August.

Deputy Director, Border Force South, Dean Oughton said:

“Border Force officers are rigorously trained to identify those using fraudulent documents in an attempt to enter the country illegally. The detection at Gatwick was a vital intervention that has helped bring Rahimlou to justice.”

Andy Shortland, from the West London CFI team, said:

“Rahimlou was involved in the supply of fraudulent ID documents in an organised bid to abuse the UK’s immigration system. His criminality has only been foiled by the effective work between my officers and those at Border Force and Essex Police. Together, we accumulated a wealth of evidence to secure Rahimlou’s conviction.

“This case should serve as a warning to anyone else engaged in immigration crime. You will be caught, brought before the courts and face justice.”

Anyone with information about suspected immigration abuse can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 anonymously or visit


200 job losses and fewer operating hours as Gatwick announces decisive action over COVID-19



Gatwick has announced drastic action it is taking as a result of the impact from COVID-19.

They say that the spread of COVID-19 has had an ‘unprecedented impact’ on the global aviation industry and as a result they are taking necessary and what they call appropriate steps to safeguard the financial resilience of teh business so that it can prepare for a quick recovery.

Operationally, this includes closing the airport to flights between midnight and 05.30 from Tuesday – except for emergency landings – and closing two of the airport’s six piers due to fewer passengers.

Further action is also likely to be announced in coming days to reduce the airport’s ‘operational footprint’ in response to this very serious, ongoing situation.

Stewart Wingate, Gatwick’s Chief Executive Officer and his executive team are also to take a 20% salary cut and waive any bonus for the current financial year.

Gatwick has also taken the very difficult decision to terminate the employment of 200 staff employed on temporary fixed-term contracts and contractors, in order to protect the business.

They say they are consulting with employees on further measures to reduce near term operating costs by exploring the potential to introduce options for unpaid leave or temporary salary reductions for staff.

In their statement they say:

These unprecedented circumstances are also having a serious impact on the airport’s third-party suppliers and the airport is working closely with them to reduce expenditure.

Along with other UK airports, Gatwick has also asked Government to ensure that the needs of UK airports are an immediate priority of the Chancellor’s new Economic and Business Response Committee.”

Stewart Wingate, Gatwick Airport, Chief Executive Officer, said:

“Gatwick is a resilient business, but the world has changed dramatically in recent weeks and we have been forced to take rapid, decisive action to ensure that the airport is in a strong position to recover from a significant fall in passenger numbers.

“We must all play our part in helping the airport recover and both myself and our Executive Board will take a significant pay cut to help reduce costs.  We also very much regret having to make this difficult decision to reduce our staff numbers and I would like to thank everyone for the contribution they made to the business. 

“Significantly reduced passenger numbers are likely to be sustained, at least in the short to medium term, and I need to prepare people for the news that other serious measures are likely.  We also strongly urge the Government to provide support in order to protect the business and the contribution it makes to the region and wider economy.”

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