Canterbury Crown Court

Canterbury Crown Court

A lorry driver who tried to smuggle 16 people into the UK inside a frozen food truck was jailed for four years yesterday. Lithuanian Redas Raukis, 23, was caught by ­immigration officers in France as he got on a ferry to Dover in April.

The court heard how his truck was stopped in the early hours of Friday, 20th of May 2011, at the freight control at Coquelles in France and examined. Inside, and amongst the load of frozen desserts which were being stored at -23 degrees centrigrade, were the 16 Albanians.

The truck was stopped at Coquelles where officers found the Albanians packed in the sealed trailer. Prosecutor Donna East told Canterbury Crown Court they were “trapped inside” unable to open the door.

Detective Inspector Eddie Fox, from the Serious and Organised Crime Unit at the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “Despite the fact that the trailer was unlocked the doors could not be opened from the inside so the Albanians travelling inside were trapped in extreme danger in a freezer.Judge Nigel van der Bijl said although no-one had suffered there had been “a clear risk that people inside might have suffered from hypothermia or other illnesses.”