France jails 70-year-old ex-British navy captain over Channel migrant smuggling

France jails 70-year-old ex-British navy captain over Channel migrant smuggling
Three migrants who were attempting to cross The English Channel from France to Britain are seen as they drift in an inflatable canoe off the French coast at Calais on August 4th. AFP
A 70-year-old retired British navy captain and two other Britons have been given jail sentences in France for trying to smuggle a dozen Vietnamese migrants across the Channel in a motorboat, prosecutors said Tuesday.

The three men were arrested last Thursday a few kilometres (miles) from the coast near the village of Wimereux in northern France after a tip-off from 
British authorities, local newspaper la Voix du Nord reported.

The retired naval captain, Ronald Scott, was sentenced to 30 months and given a 10-year ban from French territory on Monday, while the other two were 
given sentences of one and two years respectively, the local prosecutors' office in Boulogne-sur-Mer told AFP. 

Each migrant had paid 9,000 euros ($10,500) for the short trip from the French coast to Britain, the prosecutor said.

France's northern coast remains a magnet for migrants looking to cross the Channel, with police and the coast guard fighting a constant battle against people smugglers. 

It's not the first time British people smugglers have bee jailed in France for attempting to ferry migrants across the Channel.

In July 2017 a French court jailed two Britons for over two years for having smuggled migrants to England in a light aircraft in what prosecutors said was a first.

Pilot David Green, 54, and his accomplice Edward Buckley, 46, admitted having made several flights from Marck aerodrome, near the northern port of Calais, charging passengers £10,000 (€11,120) each.
The local prosecutor's office told AFP it was the first time it had handled a case in which illegal migrants were flown out of the country in a private aircraft.
The defendants admitted having made five trips since April, each time carrying between two and four passengers on their light aircraft, normally used for tourism.

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