A Palestinian national was sentenced to six months in prison on Monday after he was found guilty of two counts of attempting to the facilitate the illegal entry of two men at the Pergamos boundary on January 31.
During that process, the two men admitted the driver of the vehicle had taken them from the Turkish Controlled Areas and left them close to the crossing point.
|At this point all three men were arrested by Customs officers and were handed over to the SBA Police to continue the investigation.
Speaking shortly after the court ruling, Temporary Superintendent, Andreas Pitsillides, said this was an important arrest and conviction and highlighted both the police’s and SBA Customs commitment to prevent any illegal entry into the SBAs and subsequently, the RoC.
He explained: “Both the SBA Police and our partners in SBA Customs take the security at the crossing point in Pergamos and Ayios Nikolaos extremely seriously and we are constantly carrying out regular patrols in those areas to ensure that illegal entry cannot be gained.
“This was an important arrest, made initially by SBA Customs, because it sends out a very strong message to the facilitators of this crime that it doesn’t matter when you attempt to commit this offence – this was in the very early hours of the morning – you will be stopped and when caught, you will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
Security at the crossing points remain a key priority for the SBA Police and Customs officials and in recent months they have reported success in apprehending those attempting to facilitate the illegal entry of people into the SBAs and the Republic of Cyprus.
But according to Superintendent Pitsillides, officers are always on the lookout for facilitators of any crime.
He continued: “Of course, illegal entry is of paramount importance but any crime at those points will not go undetected. Whether that is bringing tobacco over illegally, or even drugs, there is a process in place between SBA Customs and the police and when you are caught, you will be arrested, charged and prosecuted and like in this case, you will likely be facing a custodial sentence in Her Majesty’s Prison in Dhekelia.”
And in addressing the relationship between the SBA Police and Customs, Superintendent Pitsillides said: “Our working relationship is of course very good. Both organisations are working towards the same goal and it is extremely important that we continue to work together to ensure that these crimes do not go undetected.
“We are carrying out regular joint patrols in the areas we believe should be targeted and that is proving to be an important step in ensuring security at the crossing points and that will continue to be the case in the future.”
Superintendent Pitsillides also confirmed that the two men arrested for attempting to cross illegally have now been processed in accordance with the police’s legislation.