Hull asylum seeker who charged up to £12,000 a head to smuggle illegal migrants into the UK in dinghies jailed for 10 years

The Hull-based mastermind of an operation to smuggle "potentially hundreds" of migrants across the English Channel in dinghies has been jailed for ten years.

Nzar Mohamed - jailed for 10 years

Nzar Mohamad, 34, boasted about charging migrants £10,000 to £12,000 to travel in small boats and said he didn't understand why they were afraid of the sea, Hull Crown Court heard.

Unbeknown to him the conversations were being recorded on listening devices installed in his home in Hull.

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The Iraqi Kurd, who claimed asylum after arriving in the UK hidden on top of a truck in April 2019, claimed himself to have paid £2,000 to a people smuggler.

37 screenshots of pages from an app showing weather conditions in the English channel were found on his phone

But conversations captured three months later in Hull recorded him bragging about previous smuggling activities in Europe and planned future people smuggling.

He spoke of sending large amounts of money home to Iraq and said October, November and December were the best for his criminal activities, adding: "If you just do those three months then you would be loaded".

In another recording Mohamad told criminal associates in Europe that: “I brought too many women, I swear to God I can say I brought more than a hundred over.”

He was arrested in the process of arranging an attempt to smuggle dozens of people across the Channel on a small boat in November 2019.

Lifejackets were found on a boat

However his plans went awry when someone took a £6,500 dinghy, along with an engine and 21 life vests, which was due to be picked up in Holland.

"Mohamad became notably angry and made a number of furiously threatening calls to associates about the loss of the boat," prosecutor Paul Mitchell told the court on Friday

But the crossing attempt never happened as he was arrested on November 15 2019 and charged with conspiring to facilitate illegal immigration.

A telephone seized from his home in Waterloo Street contained 241 photographs of boats and boating equipment, 87 images of maps and 37 screenshots from an app showing weather conditions in the English Channel.

Sentencing, Judge John Thackray QC said there would be "few more cases more serious than this".

He said the court could not ignore the misery caused by illegal immigration and the huge risk to life by trying to cross probably the busiest shipping channel in the world.

He said "potentially hundreds" of people had been smuggled, adding: "Your operations would have undoubtedly continued until detection."

Mohamad, he said, was not simply a middleman but at times was playing the leading role and was “motivated by greed - and had no regard for the welfare of others - saying as you did and I quote 'there is nothing wrong with the sea'.

"You were wrong about that because there almost certainly is when you are in an overcrowded dinghy in a busy shipping channel with no navigational equipment."