An Egyptian man who took gloating selfies as he piloted a “flimsy” small boat of migrants across the Channel has been jailed.
Reda Hamoud Abdurabou, 25, was transporting 50 people in the boat and has been put behind bars for three years and two months.
He took pictures of himself as he did so, which were then later used by the Home Office’s criminal and financial investigations unit.
He was sentenced at Salisbury Crown Court after being found guilty of assisting unlawful immigration to the UK and attempting to enter the country illegally.
The selfies were taken just moments before Border Force officials intercepted the dinghy.
He can be seen standing with his hand on the tiller to steer the boat towards the UK, the Home Office said.
Meanwhile migrants could be seen balancing on the edge of the boat while others lie on the floor.
Messages were also found on Abdurabou’s phone about trying to illegally enter the UK.
Immigration minister Robert Jenrick said: “This pilot brazenly tried to flout our laws, and has rightly been brought to justice today.
“Putting lives at risk by steering men, women and children across the Channel in flimsy dinghies will not be tolerated and we will continue to work relentlessly to stop these completely unnecessary crossings and ensure those responsible are put behind bars.”
Chris Foster, deputy director of criminal and financial investigations at the Home Office, said: “This defendant gloated as he risked dozens of lives by crossing the Channel illegally.
“Anyone willing to take the helm of these small boats can expect to be arrested and prosecuted. I want to praise the quick work of my officers who have brought this criminal to justice.
“His sentence shows that our teams are working relentlessly to clamp down on this illegal trade.”
A Home Office spokesperson said. “Abdurabou took charge of a dangerously overcrowded small boat packed with 50 migrants during an attempt to reach the UK illegally in July 2022.
“He took pictures of himself as he did so, saving images to his phone that would later be used as evidence by the Home Office’s Criminal and Financial Investigations (CFI) unit.”