A divorced mother-of-four who turned to smuggling people into the UK so she could pay for her son’s wedding and raise enough money to pay off her debts has been jailed after being caught by french officials.


Shabnam Zeeshan, 52, has been jailed for a year after she was caught by officials after being recruited by a criminal gang to hide people in a car boot at the Channel Tunnel in Calais.

She had amassed debts of around £14,000 before being contacted by a gang from North-West London, who were looking to recruit vulnerable woman, with the offer of cash to help them smuggle people into the UK.

A court heard that migrants who she carried had paid the gang £2,500 each to be brought into the UK and out of that Zeeshan would be paid £500 per migrant for her part in the deal.

Her lawyer Orsane Broisin, said: ‘She had debts of around £14,000 and wanted to pay something towards her son’s wedding.

‘She was contacted by people who knew she was desperate. They told her it would be easy and she accepted.

‘The gang paid for the rental of the car, she drove to France met them and was offered £500 per migrant.’

He went on to say that Zeeshan, who has two adult sons as well as two younger children aged eleven and seven, regretted her actions but was desperate for the money.

She will now serve out her one year sentence in the tough Chemin de la Plaine women’s prison near Lille.

Shocked neighbours of Zeeshan said she was an ‘everyday’ and ‘friendly’ person who got along with everybody.

Her landlord Mohammed Iqbal said he was shocked at her jail sentence but she has been a good tenant.