Bromley man who tried to smuggle boy, six, out of UK in refrigerated lorry jailed

Two men who attempted to smuggle 39 migrants out of the UK in the back of a refrigerated lorry have been jailed for 12 years.

Houcine Argoub, 32, of Bromley, and Jamal Elkhadir, 47, of Morocco, both pleaded guilty to assisting unlawful immigration when they appeared at Canterbury Crown Court on Wednesday of last week.

Argoub received a prison sentence of five years and three months and Elkhadir was sentenced to six years and nine months.

National Crime Agency (NCA) officers had been watching the pair when they met in a layby near Sandwich, Kent, in September 2023.

Argoub, who was driving a van, parked close to Elkhadir’s Moroccan registered HGV, a number of people got out of the van and climbed into the back of the lorry, which could only be opened from the outside.

NCA officers intercepted the lorry when it arrived at the docks in Dover, and 39 migrants of north African origin were found inside.

Moroccan national Jamal Elkhadir was driving the lorry full of people when it was intercepted by the NCA in Dover (Picture: NCA)

The group, who were all Algerian or Moroccan, included a family travelling with their six-year-old son and a teenage girl.

Elkhadir was arrested at the docks on suspicion of assisting unlawful immigration and Argoub was arrested at his home address for the same offence, in November 2023.

Elkhadir claimed he had been delivering cherry tomatoes to three businesses in the UK and had stopped for a rest break with the doors unlocked in the layby.

He then changed his story and claimed he had been threatened at gunpoint to transport migrants to France.

NCA operations manager John Turner said: “Elkhadir and Argoub were partners in this criminal enterprise to move migrants through the UK and smuggle them to France.

“Their only concerns were about the money they were making and how they could avoid detection, not for the safety of those hiding in the back of the HGV.

“This form of criminality not only puts people at risk, it also threatens the border security of both the UK and France, which is why the NCA works closely with partners here and overseas to tackle those facilitating illegal migrants in each direction.”

Pictured top: Houcine Argoub received a prison sentence of five years and three months for assisting unlawful immigration (Picture: NCA)

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Everyone at the South London Press thanks you for your continued support.

Former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing:


If you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can make a donation which will allow us to continue to bring stories to you, both in print and online. Or please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.