Northern Ireland news

Crime gangs in Georgia and Albania running people-smuggling operation through Ireland into the UK

Chris Philip, the British Minister for Immigration Compliance and Justice,
Marie Louise McConville

ORGANISED crime groups from Georgia and Albania are running a major people-smuggling operation through Ireland into the UK, it has been reported.

Gardaí and British police have begun working together to target the illegal trade in fake documents with growing evidence that the Republic is being used as a back door into post-Brexit Britain.

According to The Journal.ie crime gangs from Georgia and Albania are providing forged Italian and Slovakian identity documents as well as fake British passports to exploit the common travel zone between Ireland and Britain.

The illegal trade means anyone from Albania and Georgia, predominantly, who wants to get into the UK but can not do so legally, are paying the gangs up to £5,000 to travel first to Ireland on forged identity papers and then, via the common travel area, into the UK.

"The aim of all this activity for these people is to get into the UK. That is their biggest aim and border enforcement in Ireland find that it is mostly people from Albania and Georgia. The gang involved in giving the documents will give them pointers on how to get through," a source told The Journal.ie.

"There is a lot of evidence that the ploy is for them to claim asylum when they are caught and then they disappear by skipping across the border into Northern Ireland."

Chris Philip, the British Minister for Immigration Compliance and Justice, said that UK authorities are bringing in new laws to combat the problem.

"We are determined to go after the callous people who facilitate illegal entry into the UK," he said.

"We continue to work with law enforcement agencies to ensure that those who carry out these illegal acts are put before the courts and face justice."

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news