The Belgian tried to smuggle illegal immigrants into the country using a light aircraft.
01 October 2012
UK visa fly pass pilot imprisoned
A Belgian pilot who attempted to smuggle in four asylum seekers without a valid UK visa by trying to land his plane in a field in Kent has been jailed for three years.
Jean Francois Hennaux requested to make an emergency landing at the Headcorn aerodrome in June as his light aircraft was running low on fuel. There, he and his four Albanian passengers were held by the police.
UK Border Agency officers were called and Hennaux was arrested on suspicion of facilitating illegal immigration. The Belgian pleaded guilty to three counts at Maidstone Crown Court in August and was sentenced this month to three years in prison.
"People smuggling is a serious crime, which exploits the vulnerable and desperate," said Mark Rickard, from the UK Border Agency.
"The sentence handed down by the court reflects the severity with which those involved can expect to be treated."
It is likely the four Albanian passengers, two adults and two children, will be deported.
During questioning Hennaux admitted to having operated the scheme before; hiring a light aircraft in France and landing in fields in and around the Ashford area.
The UK Visa Bureau is an independent immigration consultancy specialising in helping people prepare for their UK Ancestry Visa application.