Lord Marlesford demands Home Office do more to prevent deported foreign criminals returning to Suffolk

Lord Marlesford tabled a question on deportation orders to the Home Office. Picture: STEFAN ROUSSEAU

Lord Marlesford tabled a question on deportation orders to the Home Office. Picture: STEFAN ROUSSEAU/PA WIRE - Credit: PA

A Suffolk peer is calling for tightened border security after learning a deported foreign criminal had been able to return 13 times before committing their latest crime in the county.

Gabriel Dragut returned to the UK 13 times after being deported. Picture: SUFFOLK POLICE

Gabriel Dragut returned to the UK 13 times after being deported. Picture: SUFFOLK POLICE - Credit: Archant

Lord Marlesford said the case of Gabriel Dragut, a Romanian criminal who stole a woman’s purse in Ipswich, five years after being deported, showed “the system clearly isn’t working”.

Ipswich Crown Court heard last month that Dragut, 28, of Mersea Road, Colchester, had been jailed for two years in May 2012 for fraud and deported back to Romania on September 11 of that year. Despite his deportation, Michael Crimp, prosecuting, said Dragut had returned to the UK 13 times “and Border Force can’t say why that was allowed to happen”.

In response to the case, reported previously in the EADT and Ipswich Star, Lord Marlesford tabled a written question to the Home Office on July 18 asking for clarification on the restrictions placed on a deported criminal and how those restrictions are monitored “to ensure that such persons do not return in violation of the conditions”.

His answer, submitted on Monday by Baroness Williams of Trafford, explained that deportation orders (DO) remain in force unless revoked, and prohibit re-entry to the UK.

“The existence of the DO is flagged on Home Office systems,” Baroness Williams added.

“This alerts Home Office officials in the event that the individual attempts to re-enter the UK.”

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However Lord Marlesford felt the scheme did not go far enough.

“The system clearly isn’t working,” he said. “What is needed is information on all people that should be available online for all immigration staff in the country to access so that if such person presents themselves, they can be denied entry.”

He added: “So much more could be done, using electronic data transfer, to make our borders more secure than they are at present.”

In the court case, Peter Spary, defending Dragut, said that when his client was deported in 2012 he had received a call from the Home Office and a ticket, but had not been asked to sign anything.

“He didn’t know he wasn’t allowed to come back,” said Mr Spary. “He came back to the UK regularly and there were no problems at the borders.”

A spokesman for the Home Office said: “Foreign nationals who abuse our hospitality by committing crimes in the UK should be in no doubt of our determination to deport them. Anyone subject to a deportation order is placed on a watchlist and banned from re-entering the UK.

“More than 6,100 foreign national offenders were removed from the UK last year.”

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