AN OXFORD man who was part of a smuggling gang which brought four Vietnamese migrants across the Channel on an inflatable speedboat is due to be sentenced today.

Egert Kajaci, 35, of Turn Drive, was a 'transporter' in a group of seven men arrested last summer after the migrants were seen climbing from an inflatable boat in Deal, Kent.

A specialist police unit arrested the gang on August 3 after surveillance, which included a Border Force patrol boat.

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The seven smugglers were convicted of conspiracy to facilitate unlawful immigration at St Albans Crown Court last month.

One of the migrants told the court during the trial he was promised free accommodation and food in exchange for labour, police said.

Six of the men were sentenced last month to a total of 27 years in prison.

Full details of smuggling gang

Kajaci's fellow transporter Thomas Mason, 36, of High Street, Eyeworth, Bedfordshire, was jailed for eight years. But Kajaci's sentencing was deferred until today.

Detective Inspector Trevor Davidson, who led the investigation for the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU), said after the first six sentences were handed out: "Not only was the operation highly illegal, the group were putting the lives of the migrants at risk, forcing them to travel without life jackets in a tiny boat across the Channel at night, for their own financial gain."

The ERSOU is a regional organised crime unit which also worked with the Border Force and National Crime Agency during the operation.

An eighth member of the group, Patrick Ward, 33, of Chennels Close, Hitchin, was prosecuted in Dunkirk, France, for assisting the entry and movement of irregular foreign nationals.