Career Criminal Pilot Jailed in Albanian People Smuggling Plot

Richard Styles and accomplices arrested after NCA investigation foils their plan

A career criminal, Richard Styles, 53, has been jailed along with Silvano Turchet, 68, and Vijayakumar Sivakumar, 43, for their part in an Albanian people smuggling plot foiled by the National Crime Agency (NCA) in March last year.

The qualified pilot, Styles, arranged with aviation enthusiast Turchet to rent a six-seater Piper Seneca for £1,500 from an airfield in Lincolnshire. The plane was flown to Deenethorpe Airfield near Corby, where it was stored in a hangar paid for by Turchet. On 23 March, Styles flew to Belgium to pick up the four Albanian passengers arranged by an individual known as ‘Tim K’.


Upon the plane’s return to the UK on 24 March, an NCA surveillance team was waiting and arrested Styles, who jokingly remarked, “I normally get arrested for drugs, so it’s a bit strange.” The Albanian group was quickly detained by Northants Police, who were working with the NCA, in a taxi driven by Sivakumar. The migrants were handed over to immigration authorities.

Phone records revealed that Sivakumar had been in contact with ‘Tim K’ prior to the flight. Styles had a history of using planes for smuggling, with a previous conviction in 2003 for transporting ecstasy tablets and dropping cannabis into Jersey. Turchet and Styles are believed to have met while in prison. Both were arrested in 2017 by Dutch authorities in connection with another people smuggling plot.

Turchet was arrested in July 2022 by NCA investigators. He denied knowledge of the plot, but phone data placed him near Deenethorpe Airfield on 24 March and showed he had called Styles nine times. All three were charged with facilitating a breach of immigration law.

On 28 April, a judge sentenced Styles to seven years in prison, Turchet to seven-and-a-half years, and Sivakumar to four-and-a-half years. NCA Regional Head of Investigations Jacque Beer stated that Styles was a career criminal who previously used his piloting skills to move drug consignments around Europe and that the NCA is determined to stop people smugglers from breaching UK border controls.

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1 thought on “Career Criminal Pilot Jailed in Albanian People Smuggling Plot

  1. Why put him ( them ) away at our expense? They ( him ) are being kept at our cost ( the taxpayer ) Just send them back to where they all come from ( at our expense ) Judges are there to look after the British People so our law should work like other countries. If people do wrong in their countries they are put away in a slum of a prison. We in the UK would not do that but they would live in luxury until they get out and do their crime away and starts over again.
    Tell the Euro where to go and send them all home and tell them work to put their own country back on her feel instead taking our money ( our taxes ) PM / MPs do what the 80 % of the People tell what to do about this problem. We the British People are your employer so do as your told and stop taking all of us for fools.

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