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Albanian smuggling gangs offer murderers chance to flee UK for £2,500 as Tories demand end to small boat crossings
5 August 2023, 00:26
Albanian people smuggling gangs are offering criminals the chance to flee Britain across the Channel for the price of £2,500.
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The gangs, who are more notorious for bringing people over the sea in small boats illegally, are even helping murderers to escape the UK.
TikTok has been used to offer people the chance to cross the Channel but now the smugglers are using their expertise to do the reverse.
"People with problems who want to leave England as soon as possible, going to France or Belgium on the back of the lorry. Price £2,500 sterling," one video said.
Another advert said it can "100% guarantee" they can get people to the EU by lorry if they cannot leave through the airports and having to get past tight security there.
One account called "Travel Agency London" offered a £17,500 package that gives fleeing criminals forged documents, allowing them to appear as a second lorry driver - a trick apparently used to get people into the country.
"In the lorry, he will not get burned. No one will find and stop him. No worries," a smuggler told the Mail when contacted about the "service".
"We bring people from Belgium to England in the cab of the lorry as a second driver all the time."
Natalie Elphicke, the Tory MP for Dover, said it "underlines that the small boats crisis is about serious and organised crime as well as illegal immigration".
"The criminal gangs will only be stopped when they know they won't succeed in using small boats," she added, calling for France to work with the UK to end the crossings.
Fellow Tory Gareth Johnson said: "What is so worrying is they believe they are a law unto themselves and are treating our country like criminal playground.
"This is the consequence of having such porous borders.
"If criminals are coming here illegally we can hardly be surprised that criminals are also escaping when they are wanted, but it is utterly cynical that it is the same gangs making money to take them both ways."
In the past, drug gang member Eugert Merizaj fled the UK after the killing of a rival in Hartlepool in 2019 before he was caught in Belgium and sent back to Britain.
He was jailed for murder in 2022. Three Albanian men are still wanted in the case.
Police across the country are also pursuing Albanians suspects including two alleged rapists, a cocaine dealer and a multi-million pound fraudster.
A TikTok spokesman said: "We have zero tolerance for content that facilitates human smuggling and trafficking.
"The videos and accounts in question have been banned, and we continue to work closely with UK law enforcement and industry partners to find and remove content of this nature."
Rishi Sunak has made stopping the small boats one of his key priorities.
There were 45,000 crossings last year. In the first half of 2023, 11,434 people arrived illegally in small boats.