Published: 21:00, 05 December 2019
| Updated: 09:15, 06 December 2019
A man from Sevenoaks is among three men jailed for trafficking teenagers into the UK.
Henry Dunn, 38, of Barnfield Park was convicted with consipracy to facilitate unlawful entry into the UK and participating in the ciminal activities of an organised crime network.
He denied both offences and faced a trial in March where the jury was unable to reach a decision on the first charge.
Following a retrial, he was convicted in September and today sentenced to nine years at Snaresbrook Crown Court.
Dunn worked with Christian King, 38, Worcester Park and James Davis, 31, New Malden, who were also jailed today for nine years and four years and half years respectively.
Between November 4 and 6, 2017, Davis and King were seen travelling between Dymchurch and Hastings with an inflatable boat attached to a vehicle.
They were looking at areas of beach that would be a suitable point for the boat to go into the water.
Telephone records showed King was in regular contact with Dunn.
The pair returned to Dymchurch on November 7 where Davis set sail on an inflatable boat, making his was to a beach on the outskirts of Boulogne.
After the 45 mile journey, he met another man who handed over four young Vietnamese men and returned to the UK. They were aged 14, 15, 16 and 23.
When they arrived back, the four were escorted to a car parked in Folkestone harbour. Davis was arrested at the scene and King was arrested nearby shortly after.
The vehicle was stopped on the M20 just outside Folkestone.
The teenagers were handed to social services. The fourth was a 23-year-old who told officers he was trafficked against his will to France here he was forced into servitude for several months before being taken to the French coast and put into the boat.
Dunn handed himself in in Barking on May 24, 2018.
The boat had no warning lights or emergency radio on board. There were no lifejackets and the flares were out of date.
King was charged with conspiracy to facilitate an unlawful entry. He denied the offences but was convicted on March 22 after a trial.
Davis was also charged with conspiracy to facilitate an unlawful entry and participating in the criminal activities of an Organised Crime Network. He pleaded guilty to both.
Detective Superintendent Neil Ballard from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command said: “The Met worked closely with HM Coastguard, the search and rescue arm of the Maritime & Coastguard Agency, French Law Enforcement Agencies and Border Force to bring this dangerous incident to a safe conclusion.
“The victims of this crime were young, vulnerable males who were trafficked through Europe to the beaches of France where they were put onto an inflatable boat. The boat travelled to the coast of the United Kingdom in the cover of winter night, putting the vulnerable victims in an extremely frightening and dangerous situation.
"Her Honour Judge Lees told the court the lives of these young people were ruthlessly placed at jeopardy through the financial motivation of these three men.
“The victims of this crime were young, vulnerable males who were trafficked through Europe..."
“It is down to the efforts of our officers, and close partnership working, that we were able to trace these individuals and stop them before they could bring any more harm.
“The Met will continue to work with partners to combat human trafficking and modern slavery in order to safeguard those who are most vulnerable. We will continue to target organised crime groups who seek to profit from these audacious acts and bring them to justice.”
More by this authorAmy Nickalls