French people smuggler jailed after being caught at Portsmouth International Port with three Iraqi Kurds in a caravan

A MAN who was caught smuggling three Kurdish Iraqis into Portsmouth port in a caravan has been jailed for 14 months.

Friday, 14th February 2020, 1:49 pm
Updated Friday, 14th February 2020, 2:56 pm

French national Jean Dufour, 31, borrowed his parents’ silver Citroen C4 and hired a caravan after being offered 8,000 Euros by a Kurdish refugee in France to transport the men into Britain.

But he was caught as soon as he arrived in Portsmouth on January 13 at 7pm by Border Force officers who found the men in squalid conditions.

Dufour, whose parents wept at Portsmouth Crown Court as he was jailed, immediately confessed to people smuggling - and even said had been prepared to do it again.

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Jean Dufour, 31, from France, was jailed at Portsmouth Crown Court for 14 months after smuggling three Iraqi Kurds into Portsmouth from France. Picture: Home Office

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The defendant had accepted the cash offer while a cash-strapped apprentice at Michelin but when he won a full contract still carried on with the agreement through a sense of ‘obligation,’ his barrister Daniel Reilly said.

The court heard how a refugee in France had asked for Dufour’s help in smuggling people for a year before he finally made the trip.

Even though he no longer needed the money he felt he would let the man down if he did not carry out the operation,’ Mr Reilly said.

Jean Dufour was towing this caravan when he was stopped by Border Force at Portsmouth International Port. Inside the caravan officers found three Kurdish people. Picture: Home Office

He added: ‘He explains now he sees the stupidity of the decision he made and also his real naivety as to the seriousness of the situation he was putting himself in.’

Recorder Noel Casey said the crime fell to the lower end of criminality in people smuggling and jailed Dufour, who has no previous, for 14 months after he admitted facilitating illegal immigration.

‘I accept what you have done is out of character but nevertheless the sentence imposed must be one of immediate custody,’ the judge said.

In a statement, Ben Youlden, Border Force assistant director, said: ‘It was clear from the unsanitary conditions inside the caravan that the men had been hidden inside for some time.’

Jean Dufour was towing a caravan when he was stopped by Border Force at Portsmouth International Port. Inside the caravan officers found three Kurdish people. Picture: Home Office

Deputy director Dave Fairclough, from Immigration Enforcement’s Criminal and Financial Investigation team, said: ‘Criminals like Dufour treat people as cargo and are interested in them only in terms of their financial value.’

The men are being processed ‘in line with the immigration rules’