A British fraudster who had been on the run for nearly three decades using dozens of aliases was jailed on Wednesday after being caught off the UK coast trying to smuggle eight Albanian migrants into the country.
Charles Lynch, who had a conviction in France for paedophilia under another identity, was stopped on board the motor cruiser Saquerlotte III by Border Force vessels after a high-speed chase off the south coast of England on November 6, 2019.
The 64-year-old admitted to assisting unlawful immigration and two counts of possessing false identification documents and was sentenced to three years and eight months at Portsmouth Crown Court.
“You are a resourceful, experienced and professional criminal,” judge David Melville told the court.
“These were eight refugees and they had been persuaded you would be driving them to England.”
Lynch rented the yacht in Le Havre, France, and told officers when he was stopped that he was running a navigation school for his passengers.
The five men, two women and an eight-year-old child were handed over to immigration authorities.
Lynch, who is known to have used more than 40 aliases, fled from prison in 1992 while on home leave after serving a year of a sentence for theft, fraud and forgery.
“He had also been convicted and jailed for a number of offences in France, including possessing indecent images of children, under another identity,” said a spokeswoman for the National Crime Agency.