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WATCH: The dramatic moment LBC confront a people smuggler... and he runs for it
2 October 2019, 07:46 | Updated: 10 August 2020, 10:01
This is the dramatic moment an LBC reporter confronted the man at the centre of the people smuggling gang in northern France - and he got picked up by security after running away.
Our undercover reporter had infiltrated the organisation, filming everything with covert cameras and microphones.
He met Farooq, one of the leaders of the gang in woodland in Dunkirk and filmed him explaining how he could transport migrants across the English channel for £7,000.
He then agreed to meet Farooq again in a pizza restaurant in Dunkirk - when LBC's reporter Rachael Venables asked him to comment on our evidence - only for him to make a desperate run for it.
Rachael told him: "We know you are a people smuggler. Talk to me about why you're doing this.
"Why are you putting people's lives at risk?
"You are charging people thousands of pounds to put them in those boats, to send them over to the UK. Why are you doing this?"
A clearly stunned Farooq could only say: "I don't know. I'm no smuggler."
Rachael told him we have video of him admitting it - and after more questioning, Farooq picks up his things and starts to leave the restaurant.
He walks calmly to the door with Rachael following, continuing to deny that he is involved in any kind of people smuggling. But as soon as he is out of the door, he sprinted away.
As he ran, with Rachael and our camera operator pursuing, he charged into a security guard, knocking him flying. That guard then joined the chase.
Just as Farooq got to the exit of the shopping centre, three security guards tackled him to the ground and led him away.
Watch the dramatic video at the top of the page.
Our investigation covertly filmed the gang, based in Dunkirk, London and Birmingham, who claimed that French police assist them getting people across the Channel. They said authorities tell them not to cross one day, but to come back the next – possibly due to the waters being patrolled by the UK Border Force.
Posing as an Indian family wanting to bring a young relative to the UK, they met Farooq in his camp deep in woodland off the beaten track in Dunkirk.
Farooq charges £7,000 for a place on a boat and offers a discount for children and subsequent families members wanting to make the trip. He claims to have sent 300 to 400 people to the UK in boats.