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Gatwick people smuggler sentenced

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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 www.crimestoppers-uk.org

Gatwick

The first easyJet holidays’ summer customers take off from Gatwick as business continues to return to airport

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It’s another welcome sign that the airport is starting to pick up since lockdown began to ease.

easyJet holidays has started taking its first ever summer customers on holiday since the launch of the business in November last year and since travel restrictions and quarantine advice changed.

Customers will be jetting off from London Gatwick airport to enjoy holidays to the likes of Crete, Rhodes, Malta and Turkey. When customers arrive on holiday there will be local gifts to enjoy courtesy of easyJet holidays and their destination partners to celebrate the first arrivals.

To help support and prepare customers for what to expect on holiday in these times, easyJet holidays has created a customer video and provided detailed information pages on its website – a Covid-19 response and a safety and wellbeing centre.

Matt Callaghan, Customer Director at easyJet holidays said:

“This is a really big moment for us and it is hugely exciting to be taking our first customers away this summer. We know how important holidays are to us all and we also recognise that for many a holiday this year feels even more significant. We’ve made a series of commitments and put in a number of steps to help ensure customers can have a safe and enjoyable holiday. We’d also like to say a huge thank you to all of our partners for the part they have played in getting ready for today.”

Stephen King, Head of Airline Relations at Gatwick Airport, said:

“The launch of easyJet holidays from Gatwick Airport is a really significant step off the back of an incredibly challenging few months, not just for the aviation industry but for individuals and families across the country. For people to have the opportunity to get away to easyJet holidays’ fantastic range of destinations from Gatwick this summer is great news and something certain to give many families a huge boost.

“As an airport, we have implemented numerous new measures to ensure the safety of both passengers and staff travelling through Gatwick, which will help keep passenger safe and help to rebuild confidence in flying, whether to see family and friends, to enjoy a much-needed holiday or to travel for business.”

Today also marks the day that the new comic book inspired face masks for children will start to be available on easyJet flights. The masks, designed by Irish artist Will Sliney, best known for his work on Marvel comics Spider-Man and Star Wars, are just one element of the new measures the airline has introduced on flights to help ensure the safety and wellbeing of all customers and crew onboard.

easyJet holidays has great value deals on a range of holidays bookable all the way through to October next year. All holidays include 23kg of luggage per person, with transfers included on beach holidays.

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