A MAN who attempted to smuggle two Albanian nationals into the UK in his lorry has been jailed.

Vadim Corai was arrested in Newhaven, East Sussex, after two people were found hiding in his vehicle, one of them being a juvenile, on November 19, 2022.

Corai, a Moldovan national, has been in custody since he was found guilty of assisting unlawful immigration to the UK following a trial on May 9.

At his sentencing in Salisbury on Wednesday, December 20, the court heard how Corai was motivated to smuggle the two people for financial gain.

Initially denying his involvement, Corai told police that he had travelled from Zaragoza in Spain, was heading to Leeds and got the ferry from Dieppe in France.

Corai claimed that he had stopped south of Paris and was away from his vehicle, leaving it unlocked at times.

Wiltshire Times: Vadim Corai has been jailed.Vadim Corai has been jailed. (Image: Home Office)

Two people were found hidden in the lorry cab driven by Corai when crossing from France into the UK by a scanner.

Aidan Harvey, mitigating, said Corai's wife, 28-year-old daughter and mother financially depend on him and his earnings.

"Moldova does not have a welfare estate and his family are very much dependant on him so that they can eat and keep themselves warm in the winter period," he added.

Mr Harvey said Corai's lorry is his means of creating a living and losing it would have a huge impact.

"He has borrowed heavily to obtain it. Once deported he won't be returning to this country with any form of cargo. He intends to return to Portugal hopefully with that vehicle," Mr Harvey told the court.

His Honour Judge Timothy Mousley KC said: "There is force in that but there's a significant deterrent effect in confiscating the means of transport.

"This offence not only threatens the border but also the safety of people in the UK."

Wiltshire Times: This is where the two individuals were sleeping.This is where the two individuals were sleeping. (Image: Home Office)

Speaking directly to Corai, Judge Mousley said: "There is a range of sentences that can be imposed in these types of cases all of those involve imprisonment.

"There were two migrants, it was not a single migrant, but you have only committed one offence. You have no previous convictions and I am satisfied that you were motivated by financial advantage. There is a powerful inference to that effect."

Corai was sentenced to two and a half years in prison and he must serve half of that in prison before he will be released where he will continue to be subject to the sentence. He will be recalled to prison if he commits another offence upon his release.

Judge Moseley made an order for Corai's lorry to be confiscated and ordered him to pay a surcharge.

Speaking after the sentencing, Chris Foster, deputy director of criminal and financial investigations at the Home Office, said: “This was a brazen attempt to smuggle people into the UK and today's sentence is another reminder that those responsible will be brought to justice. 

"Our officers continue to work relentlessly to protect the British public and prosecute those who put our security at risk.”