A GANG of human traffickers who tried to smuggle 69 Albanian immigrants into the UK could now see their sentences increased.

Kfir Ivgi, 39, Sergejs Kuliss, 32, Arturas Jusas, 35, and Igor Kosyi, 57, were collectively jailed for 35 years following a trial at Chelmsford Crown Court.

They were convicted of conspiring to facilitate illegal immigration after a 30-metre boat full of immigrants and heading to Great Yarmouth was captured.

The National Crime Agency investigation subsequently escorted the fishing trawler to the Harwich International port where it remained until the trial concluded.

The four criminals’ names have now appeared on the Unduly Lenient Sentencing list, which means an appeal has been lodged challenging the crooks’ sentences.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

The Crown Court now has the power to alter sentences made by the Crown Court within 56 days of the date on which they were first made.

If the jail terms are re-examined and found to be inadequate in terms of length, the Ivgi, Kuliss, Jusas, and Kosyi could see their sentences increased.

Israeli national Ivgi, from Finchley, was initially given ten years behind bars while Jusas, a Lithuanian national from Lambeth was jailed for nine years and nine months.

Latvian national Kuliss, from London was also jailed for nine years and Kosyi, from Ukraine, was given seven years in prison for his role in the crime.

Alexsandrs Gulpe, 44, from Latvia, was also convicted but his sentencing was adjourned to a later date.

Responding to the appeal, a spokesman for The National Crime Agency has said: "It wouldn’t be appropriate for the NCA to comment while these proceedings are still in process.”

The crime group's boat, entitled the Svanic, was apprehended by UK Border Force Vessels in the North Sea on November 17 2020.

The NCA had been alerted by the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre in Lisbon after reports of suspicious activity from the Swedish authorities who had to assist the boat after it ran aground.

During the trial it transpired that the trawler, which had set sail from the Ostend area of Belgium was nearly 60 years ago and boasted lifeboat which could only accommodate 20 people.