Men to be sentenced over bid to bring 18 Albanians into UK by boat


Two British men are to be sentenced for attempting to help 18 Albanians into the country on a boat which became stranded in the Channel. 

Mark Stribling, 35, from Farningham, Kent, and Robert Stilwell, 33, from Dartford, both admitted the offences under Section 25 (1) of the Immigration Act 1971 at Maidstone Crown Court last month.

A rescue operation was launched to retrieve their rigid-hulled inflatable boat when it began to sink off Dymchurch, Kent, in May.

Two children and one woman were among the 18 Albanians discovered on board the stricken vessel. 

The Coastguard, working with the RNLI, rescued the Albanian group as well as the two defendants - whom they handed over to the Border Force. 

It has been reported the people on board had alerted their families in Calais, who raised the alarm with the French authorities.

The pair will be sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court.