Border Force intercepted yacht skipper who attempted to smuggle people into UK
A man has been jailed for trying to smuggle nine people into the UK following an interception by Border Force.
Marco Den Hollander, 32, was sentenced last month to five years and seven months in prison at Ipswich Crown Court following an investigation by Border Force officers and Immigration Enforcement’s Criminal and Financial Investigations team.
On 27 May 2021, Dutch authorities alerted Border Force as the sailing vessel MORGANA II left their waters without authority. The vessel was then tracked, intercepted and boarded by officers onboard HMC Searcher within UK territorial waters.
Marco Den Hollander was at the helm and informed Border Force officers that there were four people on board, and that they were friends of family, and friends who he was bringing to the UK.
However, on inspection, officers found 9 Albanian nationals hidden in the cabin. The vessel, passengers and skipper were brought ashore when it was then established that the vessel had been hired in Holland – a subsequent search found only 6 life-jackets for those making the dangerous crossing.
Mr Den Hollander was subsequently charged with facilitating a breach of the UK’s immigration law and remanded in custody. He pleaded guilty on 25 June 2021.
David Fairclough, Criminal and Financial Investigations team said the sentence ‘sends a clear message to those that have a blatant disregard for the law and treat people like cargo, putting profits before lives.’