Darren Adam 1am - 4am
People Smuggling: Undercover Reporter Visits UK Money Agent Who Collects £7k Per Migrant
1 October 2019, 07:32 | Updated: 2 October 2019, 11:20
LBC's undercover reporter has traced the money-laundering operation of a French people smuggling gang to a newsagent in Birmingham.
Yesterday, LBC revealed we had infiltrated the gang based in Dunkirk, where we met the people smuggler in his tend in the middle of woodland and arranged to pay him £7,000 to bring a relative to the UK.
He told us to pay him £1,000 costs directly via MoneyGram and then another £6,000 to an agent in a number of locations across the UK.
They included a money-transfer shop in London, a restaurant in Southall and a convenience store in Birmingham.
The reporter asked to visit the Birmingham mini-market and Farooq, our contact at the people smugglers, sent him the name and address via WhatsApp. He then visited the shop wearing covert cameras.
Our undercover reporter takes up the story: "I was told it was run by a Pakistani and when I got there, there he was behind the counter, serving people sweets, groceries and money transfer.
"I explained who I was and at first, he said he didn't want anything to do with it. Then, once a customer had left, he told me what I needed to do.
"He said I would give him the money, he would hold it. Farooq will let me know that the person had arrived and he would send the money to him.
"I asked if he was knew Farooq and he 'I don't know him, I do business with him, I send money for him.' He revealed he talks to him through Facebook Messenger.
"He also said that if for any reason my man doesn't arrive, I'll get the money back, but I would need to give two days' notice.
"That was the transaction, he knew everything. He knew it was trafficking, he knew it was boats, he knew police may get involved. The whole exchange lasted for about half an hour."