A Russian HGV driver has been jailed for four years after pleading guilty to smuggling migrants ‘from the UK to France’.

Nikolai Kuznetsov, aged 39 was stopped by Border Force officers on the 17th August 2023 at Dover Docks.


Upon searching his trailer, 22 migrants, including a five-year girl and her parents, were found hiding inside.

The migrants, who were all of North African origin, were attempting to avoid French border immigration /visa controls.

Kuznetsov was arrested by officers from the National Crime Agency on suspicion of facilitating illegal entry (to an EU member state). He pleaded guilty at the first opportunity at Canterbury Magistrates Court, and was sentenced yesterday (Friday 26 January) to four years and four months in prison.

John Turner, Operations Manager at the National Crime Agency said:

“Kuznetsov was complicit with the people smugglers whose only concern was making money, rather than the wellbeing of those individuals found in his trailer. Thankfully they were found and safeguarded, but we know organised crime groups will continue in their attempts to use migrants to make money.

“The NCA works closely with a range of partners – both here in the UK and overseas – to ensure all people who enter or leave the UK do so legally, and are in possession of lawfully obtained identity documents and the correct visa requirements.

“This sentencing sends a clear message to anyone concerned in facilitating illegal migration, to or from the UK, that they will be caught and will receive a custodial sentence.”

By Ed

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