Man denies helping smuggle man unlawfully in van with 'hidden compartment'

Nigel Burns, 47, of Swallow Road, Ipswich, admitted seven sex offences at Ipswich Crown Court.

John Lockwood, from Trimley St Martin, denies assisting in unlawful immigration. - Credit: GREGG BROWN

A Trimley man was part of a gang which tried to smuggle an illegal immigrant into the UK in a purpose-built hidden compartment in the back of a van, it has been alleged.

John Lockwood was allegedly seen looking into the back of the Ford Transit van with a torch with three other men while it was parked in Rosehill Road, Ipswich, shortly before the attempted smuggling, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

He was also allegedly seen to put a box into the van while it was parked at Ipswich Hospital, said Wayne Cleaver, prosecuting.

Lockwood had also allegedly arranged to meet the driver of the van in a hotel in Calais and had travelled back to Dover on the same ferry as the van with the illegal immigrant hidden inside, said Mr Cleaver.

Lockwood, 32, of Mill Close, Trimley St Martin, has denied assisting in the unlawful immigration of an Albanian national between October 14 and 17 2019 by arranging with others for him to hide in the back of a van on a P&O ferry at Dover.

The court heard that Richard Halls, 39, of St Andrews Place, Melton, and three other men had admitted the charge at earlier hearings.

The trial continues.