Two men who smuggled 29 Vietnamese people into the UK on a fishing boat before police discovered them crammed in the back of a lorry on the M5 motorway plead guilty to trafficking.
Frank Walling and Glen Bennett, from Lancashire pleaded guilty to two charges
The two charges relate to the Modern Slavery and Immigration Acts
Police operation descended on a fishing port in Cornwall following the incident
Frank Walling, 72, and Glen Bennett, 55, both from Lancashire pleaded guilty to two charges under the Modern Slavery and Immigration Acts. DailyMail reports.
The pair were arrested after they were stopped by officers on the M5 near, Devon, just after 9am on Friday, April 12, with the foreign nationals onboard.
It then emerged that it was the same group who had been seen a few hours earlier getting off a boat in Cornwall, just after 7am.
A massive police operation descended on the fishing port as the boat was boarded and a hunt began for the missing group. Devon and Cornwall Police soon confirmed the link between the two incidents.
Police subsequently arrested and charged Walling and Bennett, both from Lancashire, in connection to the incident.
The two men were jointly charged with arranging the travel of a woman with a view to her being exploited, contrary to the Modern Slavery Act. They were also charged with skippering a yacht carrying 29 Vietnamese nationals in breach of the Immigration Act.
According to DailyMail, the case was sent to Truro Crown Court, where they subsequently appeared on Tuesday, May 7, and pleaded guilty to the charges. The pair were informed by Judge Robert Linford that they will be sentenced at Truro Crown Court on October 11. They have been remanded in custody and the pair will reappear at Truro Crown Court for sentencing at a later date.
Witnesses at the scene in April said the town had been put in lock down following the incident.
Witness Clive Oxley said: ‘There were 32 of them who ran aboard by the jetty, clambered over the fences and ran off.
‘The police have stopped all fishing boats going out to sea. There was one dinghy that went back out to sea with about six people on it.’
Mr Oxley added: ‘Everyone here is really shocked. There’s police everywhere and people in high-vis jackets and they have shut the whole of the front of the harbour.
‘There’s armed police and armed response vehicles.’