Pilot appears at Northampton Magistrates’ Court over alleged people smuggling after plane landed at county airfield

A 52-year-old pilot appeared in Northampton Magistrates’ Court charged with attempting to smuggle illegal immigrants into the county.

Richard Styles, of no fixed address, was arrested during an operation carried out by the National Crime Agency on Thursday March 24 after having landed his twin-engine plane following a flight from Belgium.

Northamptonshire Police, in conjunction with the NCA, stopped a taxi which had left an airfield near Corby, arresting the driver and four Albanian nationals.

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Police intervened after the plane landed in Northamptonshire on Friday. Photo: National Crime Agency

The operation was also supported by border forces and immigration police.

Styles and the taxi driver, a 42-year-old man from Tooting in south London, were questioned by NCA investigators.

Styles was then charged with facilitating a breach of immigration law and appeared in court on Saturday where he was remanded in custody to appear at Leicester Crown Court on April 25.

The taxi driver was released on bail pending further investigation.

Three men and one woman, all Albanian nationals between the ages of 21 and 64, remain under immigration control.

NCA Regional Head of Investigations Jacque Beer said: “We know smugglers use a range of methods to try to breach UK border controls and we remain aware of the threats.

“Together with our law enforcement partners, we are determined to do everything we can to stop them.

“Aviation and the local community can play a vital role in preventing border crime, and whether you work in the aviation industry, are an avid pilot or live locally, you should report any unusual activity immediately. or suspect at a UK airfield or airport.”

If you see anything unusual or suspicious you can call 0300 123 7000 and quote ‘PEGASUS’ or click HERE to go to the Government’s Immigration Crime website.

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