Illegal immigrant overstays 11 years

Preston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court
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An illegal immigrant removed from the UK later returned under the same false name and stayed here for 11 years.

It emerged that during that time Hamid Mechnan, a Morrocan, was even jailed for a drug offence.

He was arrested in June in Gorton Street, Blackpool and said “I’m fed up of living like this. I want to tell the truth”.

The 35-year-old of London Road, Blackpool appeared at Preston Crown Court, having admitted an offence of seeking to obtain or enter the UK by deception.

He was jailed for eight months, suspended for two years, with a three-month long curfew, from 9pm to 6am each night.

Mechnan first came to this country in 1998, using a false name. He applied for asylum, but his application was declined and he was removed from the country, the court heard.

But he returned here, making a second application in the same surname as before, in February 2002.

During that application, he stated he was an Algerian and had suffered false imprisonment and ill treatment in Algeria. But his application was refused again.

The defendant is in fact a Moroccan national.

In 2010 he made a further representation to the Home Office in the same name he had used in his original application.

He was arrested on June 17 at the Blackpool address where he had been living with his wife.

He said at the time “I hold my hands up.

“I have claimed asylum as an Algerian. I am a Morrocan.

“I am fed up of living like this. I want to tell the truth”.

Mechnan had gone on to say he wanted to confess his guilt and hoped to regularise his position.

An earlier sentence in the false name had seen him given 20 weeks jail for possessing drugs with intent to supply.

Waheed Omran-Baber, defending, said his client had owned up when arrested to what he had done.

He had applied to become a resident here, through him being married to a British citizen. He came here as an economic immigrant, in the hope of a better life, employment and the hope of remaining here, marrying and starting a fresh life.

“In many respects he has done that.He has been in detention for over a year in respect of immigration matters. He has effectively served a two year sentence already.

“As he said when arrested, he was sick and tired of playing a cat and mouse game with the border agency.”

Judge Andrew Woolman said “This is rather a sad tale in some ways. It has taken so long for this case to get to court”.

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