People smuggling: suspended sentences for couple

A couple caught people smuggling through Holyhead port have been given suspended jail sentences.

Dean Hickey and Nisjeta Papa, from Dublin, admitted helping two Albanian men illgeally enter the UK last August and September.

Hickey (29) also pleaded guilty to bringing another three Albanian men and a woman onto Anglesey from the Republic of Ireland.

Caernarfon Crown Court heard Hickey acted out of ‘misguided loyalty’ to Papa (29), his Albanian girlfriend. He was given a 22-month jail sentence and Papa was given an 18-month sentence – but both were suspended for two years.

The court heard Hickey’s BMW car was stopped at the port by Border Force officers last October. He handed over his driving licence – but the four Albanians did not have any relevant visas nor identification.

When questioned, Hickey claimed he was doing a favour for his partner’s brother and was on his way to watch football in Manchester. A mobile phone seized from the defendant found the couple had discussed past trips bringing the other men through Holyhead.

Prosecutors said the trip would have left Hickey and Papa with a £1,000 profit after expenses and a cut for her brother were paid for. The couple were arrested in December when they were interviewed again in Holyhead.

The defence argued both Hickey and Papa should be given suspended sentences.

Hickey’s laywer argued he was highly thought of and had a good job still available to him in the Republic of Ireland. Papa’s defence claimed she had come under pressure from her brother.

Judge Huw Rees told the pair they had carried out serious offences – but there were mitigating factors which would allow him to suspend the jail terms.

But he warned both defendants that they would face prison if they failed to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work or offended again. He order 400 euros, found in Hickey’s car, to be confiscated.

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