Men accused of people smuggling in court
NORWEGIAN national Eugen Bjelland has pleaded guilty at South East Suffolk Magistrates to smuggling illegal immigrants in to the country for money.Eugen Bjelland was arrested on July 8 after a dingy was discovered harbouring two Burmese men just off the coast at Bawdsey.
By Victoria Knowles
NORWEGIAN national Eugen Bjelland has pleaded guilty at South East Suffolk Magistrates to smuggling illegal immigrants in to the country for money.
Eugen Bjelland was arrested on July 8 after a dingy was discovered harbouring two Burmese men just off the coast at Bawdsey.
Bjelland pleaded guilty to smuggling the immigrants and not guilty to possession of cannabis with the intent to supply.
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Police found Bjelland, 62, on board the nearby Dutch registered yacht Sea Witch. A further six illegal immigrants were found on the yacht.
Three pillow-sized foil packages containing cannabis were also found on the boat.
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In a police interview Bjelland admitted he had been offered money to carry the passengers from France, where he was also living illegally, to England.
But he denied any knowledge of the cannabis.
Last month a senior Suffolk councillor warned more illegal immigrants could target the county's coastline as security is stepped up in the Channel Tunnel.
Peter Monk, deputy leader of Suffolk County Council said: "In this country there are not many relatively deserted coastlines. Some of the nearest to the continent are those on the Suffolk coast. We have got to be vigilant about it."
Frenchman Phillippe Longatte, 57, also appeared in court charged with the same offence, but did not enter any pleas at this stage.
No bail applications were made for either man and their cases were adjourned until September 4.
They will remain in custody until that date.