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Sheppey men Jon Ransom and Keith Plummer deny smuggling 29 Vietnamese into UK

By John Nurden

Two men appeared in court today accused of smuggling 29 Vietnamese people into Britain on a boat.

Jon Ransom, 63, and Keith Royston Plummer, 62, both of Sheerness, were charged with skippering a yacht containing the Vietnamese to Newlyn Harbour, Cornwall, in breach of the Immigration Act.

They are also accused of arranging travel for a woman with a view to her being exploited, contrary to the Modern Slavery Act.

Police board yacht at Newylyn Harbour, Cornwall. Picture: Greg Martin (8619752)
Police board yacht at Newylyn Harbour, Cornwall. Picture: Greg Martin (8619752)

Both were in the dock at Truro magistrates court with Frank Walling, 72, from Colne, Lancashire, and Glen Martin Bennett, 55, from Burnley, Lancashire.

Ransom, Plummer and Bennett all deny the charges. Walling, who was on crutches, did not enter a plea.

Their appearance followed the arrest of two men at Newlyn and two others on the M5 near Cullompton, Devon on Friday.

Police swoop on avan on the M5 at Cullompton, Deveon. Picture: NPAS (8619750)
Police swoop on avan on the M5 at Cullompton, Deveon. Picture: NPAS (8619750)

All four are jointly charged with two alleged offences.

Prosecutor Alison May said the charges, which could be dealt with by magistrates, were so serious they should be heard at a crown court.

The magistrates agreed. No applications were made for bail. All four were remanded in custody.

They will appear at Truro Crown Court on Tuesday, May 7.

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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