A man has admitted his role in a people-smuggling ring which coordinated several runs between Britain and mainland Europe, but four others have denied the offence.
The men are alleged to have used a small boat to travel to Belgium, collect migrants, and bring them back to Margate in Kent in a number of smuggling runs last year, the National Crime Agency had previously said.
At a hearing at Nottingham Crown Court on Monday, held at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court, 51-year-old Albanian, Banet Tershana, admitted conspiring to facilitate a commission of a breach or attempted breach of immigration law.
Fellow Albanians Arsen Feci, 44, Klodian Shenaj, 48, and Jetmir Myrtaj, 44, and Irishman Desmond Rice, 46, denied the same charge and will face trial at the same court on July 24.
This followed two arrests on October 30 last year, where a man from Basingstoke and a man from Leicester were apprehended when they arrived on the Belgian coast, the NCA said in February.
Twelve migrants, believed to be Albanian nationals and including a child, were taken into custody by Belgian authorities, with a boat later seized in Brightlingsea, Essex, the NCA said.
Shenaj, of Broxtowe Street, Nottingham, Rice, of Meadowcroft, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, and Myrtaj, of no fixed abode, were remanded in custody, while Feci, also of Broxtowe Street, Nottingham, remains on bail.
Tershana, of Harmsworth Crescent, Hove, East Sussex, had a bail application refused and will be remanded in custody until the trial of his co-defendants concludes.