Immigrants 'exploiting loophole at Stansted Airport to enter the country'
Illegal immigrants are exploiting an immigration loophole at Stansted airport to enter the country, a court was told.
David Millward, Transport Editor
Published: 7:30AM GMT 09 Feb 2010
They are sidestepping passport checks by coming into Britain through the immigration controls reserved for passengers arriving from the Republic of Ireland, Channel Islands and Isle of Man, where only boarding cards need to be shown.
Last night the Immigration Service Union said the problem, which created a “glaring hole in Britain's immigration controls”, had arisen because of the layout of the airport.
The loophole emerged at Chelmsford Crown Court where Andrea Tardin, 29, a Brazilian woman of no fixed abode was jailed for 12 months after pleading guilty to possessing a false identity card.
Richard Strong, prosecuting, said Tardin went through this channel, telling immigration officials she had arrived from Shannon.
In fact she had come from elsewhere in Europe and waited until the Shannon flight had arrived, so she blended in with other passengers coming in from Ireland.
Helen Fleck defending, explained: “You buy a ticket online and pay for it and you can print your ticket and boarding pass online on the day of your travel.
“It seems perhaps Ryanair may wish to rethink their system.”
Judge Rodger Hayward Smith QC said: “A police report says that using this channel is becoming more prevalent at Stansted and they are cocerned about it.”
Speaking after the case John Tincey, spokesman for the Immigration Service Union, said the problem was due to the lay out of controls at the airport.
“There are no formal immigration controls on flights from the Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.
“At Heathrow people on domestic flights and from Ireland are diverted away from immigration control. At Stansted they are not segregated, which makes it easy for someone coming in from the continent to join the line for Irish arrivals.
“People have been aware of this problem since 1991.”
A UK Border Agency spokesperson said: On arrival at Stansted airport this individual did attempt to gain entry to the United Kingdom through the route for passengers arriving from within the Common Travel Area (CTA).
“Only passengers arriving from Republic Ireland and the Channel Islands are allowed to use this channel.
Her presence in this area was challenged and she was subsequently refused entry by a Border Force Officer.
A Ryanair spokesman said: “This incident, which happened last year, is unlikely to be repeated since the airline has introduced its mandatory visa check for all non-EU passport holders at their departure airport prior to travelling to the UK.
” Ryanair continues to work closely with the authorities at airports in our network to prevent passengers using false identification. The fact that this passenger was caught and successfully prosecuted demonstrates the effectiveness of Immigration controls at Stansted.
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