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Jailed Russians wait to hear their fate

PUBLISHED: 13:29 06 August 2001 | UPDATED: 15:16 03 March 2010

TWO Russian immigrants spent six days in a Suffolk jail after attempting to sleep rough in a Felixstowe building.

TWO Russian immigrants spent six days in a Suffolk jail after attempting to sleep rough in a Felixstowe building.

The men appeared at court in Ipswich to answer accusations of criminal damage but charges against one defendant were dropped leaving the other man facing just one charge.

Alexander Esin, 35, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to a charge of damaging a door. After magistrates heard he had spent six days in police custody he was sentenced to detention in the cells until the end of yesterday's court session.

Effectively he was allowed to leave as soon as the hearing ended as he had spent so much time in custody.

The court heard how Esin and 30-year-old Victor Lebedinsky arrived in Britain via Felixstowe on Saturday. Despite having no money or food the two men were released by immigration officials to return for an interview on Monday.

They attempted to sleep in a building in Felixstowe on Saturday night. Police arrived at the scene and after being arrested Esin kicked a door, after receiving hospital treatment, he along with Lebedinsky were held in custody.

After a hearing at South East Suffolk Magistrates Court the two men will now have to wait for an interview with immigration officials to see if they will be deported or granted temporary asylum.

Margaret Cutts, prosecuting, told the court that police discovered the two men trying to sleep on the floor of a building at about 6pm on Saturday, July 28.

She said: "Both men were arrested and Mr Esin struggled violently. He kicked out at a glass panel on a door causing it to break.

"When interviewed Mr Esin said he was there because he needed somewhere to sleep and he couldn't remember kicking out at the door."

Ian Devine, mitigating, said: "For reasons best known to the immigration service, who knew that the two men had no money, no food and no accommodation, they were released during the early hours of Saturday.

"It's my understanding the immigration service spoke to the police, trying to persuade them to take the two men into custody. The police had no grounds to do so and declined."

He continued by saying police later arrested the men. He said: "Mr Esin tried in his native tongue to explain to the police what had happened… because of language difficulties he kicked out at a door as he left the building."

Mr Devine added that the two men were now likely to be taken to Norwich where they will be held in immigration custody until they are interviewed regarding their entry to the UK.

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