Men in court after non-EU citizen found hidden in Ford Transit at Felixstowe
A group of Suffolk men have appeared in court charged with immigration, drugs and weapons offences after a non-EU citizen was allegedly hidden in a Ford Transit van travelling from France.
Six men from Suffolk, one from Essex and one from Birmingham have been charged with offences linked to an investigation by the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU).
They were arrested and charged following a series of warrants in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Gorleston-on-Sea, in Norfolk, and Birmingham.
Two of the men have already appeared at Suffolk Magistrates’ Court and are due to appear at Ipswich Crown Court on July 1 for a plea and trial preparation hearing.
On Friday, a further four appeared before magistrates to be formally charged and have their cases committed to the same venue.
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Elliott Thompson, 28, of Ipswich Road, Stowmarket, Richard Halls, 37, of St Andrews Place, Melton, and John Lockwood, 30, of Trimley St Martin, have all been charged with performing an act to facilitate the commission of a breach of UK immigration law by a non-EU person.
Halls and Lockwood are accused of making arrangements to conceal a non-EU individual inside a Ford Transit van travelling from France.
Both entered not guilty pleas to the offence, alleged to have taken place at Felixstowe on October 14 last year, and their cases were sent for pre-trial hearings at the crown court on July 24.
Halls admitted five counts of possessing an offensive weapon in a public place on June 9 this year in Melton.
Thompson entered no plea to the same immigration offence, alleged to have taken place at Ipswich between October 14 and 17.
Myles Davies, 37, of Henley Road, Ipswich, has been charged with an indictable only offence of conspiracy to produce cannabis, which must be sent to the crown court.
All of the men were granted unconditional bail to appear at Ipswich Crown Court on July 24.
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