Football star jailed for attempting to smuggle Calais migrants into England
A FORMER professional footballer has been jailed for 10 months after he tried to smuggle 10 Afghan migrants into England in the back of a furniture van.
BELGA Striker Fabrice Lokembo-Lokaso has been jailed for 10 months
Striker Fabrice Lokembo-Lokaso, 33, was stopped at Calais as he attempted to drive on to a Dover-bound ferry with four children, two women, one of whom was pregnant, and four men.
The Congo-born player, who has played for Belgian top-flight side Charleroi and clubs in Israel and Cyprus, claimed he got sucked into the world of people smuggling because of debts of £35,000.
Prosecutor Eric Fouard told a court in Dunkirk that he picked up the migrants at the notorious Jungle refugee camp at Calais, where some seven thousand migrants are based.
Lokembo-Lokaso told the judge: “A guy in Brussels called Malik invited me to deliver some furniture to England and I had no idea what the van contained.
I have a lot of debts so I said I would do it
“When I reached Calais another man, named Al, told me what was going on and offered me 1,000 euros per head to transport these 10 people. Everything happened very quickly. I have a lot of debts so I said I would do it.”
Mr Fouard said: “This isn’t the first smuggling attempt of this type but 10 migrants at one time is a lot.”
BELGA Prosecutors had sought a 15-month sentence but the judge showed leniency
Prosecutors had sought a 15-month sentence but the judge showed leniency.
The case comes in the same week as Robert Stilwell, 33, a gold medallist in judo in the Commonwealth games in 2000, and Mark Stribling, 35, both from Kent, were jailed after being caught with 18 migrants on a sinking dinghy off Dymchurch, Kent, in May.
They had travelled from Calais with their cargo of illegal migrants, who had paid £90,000 for the journey.
At Maidstone Crown Court Stilwell was jailed for four years and four months and his childhood friend was given four years and eight months.