Father-of-three jailed after trying to smuggle three migrants in an “airtight” roof box on his car through UK controlled zone in France

Robert Rooney, 35, stuffed two men and a teenage girl, 15, into the box on top of his Ford Focus

Two men and a 15-year-old girl from Vietnam were found crammed inside the tiny compartment on top of HGV driver Robert Rooney’s Ford Focus by officers of the UK controlled customs zone in France.

A court heard how Rooney, 35, told officials in the UK controlled zone at the Channel Tunnel in Coquelles, France, the box had “camping stuff” inside.

But when Border Force officers opened it, the first thing they saw was a “human arm”. Harrowing pictures show the migrants inside the roof box, which is not much bigger than a suitcase.

The Irish-born HGV driver was arrested and when quizzed by police, told them: ‘I did know what I was doing, but I will be making no further comment.’

Prosecutor Bridget Todd told Canterbury crown court the box was, “an airtight concealment”, adding: “There was no attempt to put any ventilation in the box.

The father-of-three from Ireland was jailed for three years, his family all wept in the court as the verdict was readout.

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Written by

Tony Winterburn

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