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Sittingbourne man smuggled 29 Vietnamese people into Cornwall

A man has been found guilty of helping to smuggle 29 Vietnamese people into the UK through a harbour in an historic fishing village.

Jon Ransom, 63, of Coats Avenue, Sheerness was convicted of assisting unlawful immigration to an EU country after a trial.

Police swoop on a van on the M5 at Cullompton, Devon. Picture: NPAS
Police swoop on a van on the M5 at Cullompton, Devon. Picture: NPAS

Ransom was one of four men who were arrested and jointly charged in April following a raid of a suspicious boat at Newlyn harbour in Cornwall.

The yacht, which was described to the jury as "in a poor condition", had 29 Vietnamese nationals on board.

They included women and children.

Once in Newlyn the immigrants were transferred to a windowless van and driven up to Cullompton Services on the M5 where they were stopped by police.

Following the guilty verdict Ransom’s case was adjourned so that he can be sentenced alongside his co-convicted Keith Plummer, 62, of Scrapsgate Road, Minster, Frank Walling, 72, from Colne, Lancashire, and Glen Bennett, 55, from Burnley, Lancashire who had all pleaded guilty.

Police board yacht at Newylyn Harbour, Cornwall. Picture: Greg Martin (19088505)
Police board yacht at Newylyn Harbour, Cornwall. Picture: Greg Martin (19088505)

Despite Judge Robert Linford warning Ransom, of Sheerness, Kent, that a custodial sentence was “as good as inevitable” he granted Ransom bail until that date as “an act of pure mercy”.

To read more of our in depth coverage of all of the major trials coming out of crown and magistrates' courts across the county, click here.

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