Two Romanian men who tried to enter the UK illegally through a Pembrokeshire port have been handed prison sentences by a judge.

Swansea Crown Court heard that Costel Nicololae Racolta and Maurius Mardare were part of a group of six Romanian men who came into port at Fishguard Harbour on May 15 this year.

The group was travelling in two vehicles and Racolta, 24, and Mardare, 32, were the back seat passengers in both.

Border Force and Immigration officers on duty at Fishguard Harbour as the Stena Europe disembarked pulled over both the cars.

Racolta gave a false name to officers and produced a passport bearing that name.

On closer inspection he did not appear to be the man on the passport photograph. He was asked if he had any other identity and produced an identity card bearing his real name.

Mardare also had a passport in a different name. An immigration officer asked him to get out of the car and produce his bags.

Under brighter lighting she could see that his appearance was different to that on his passport.

He insisted that it was his passport but when his property was searched an identity card with his real name was discovered.


Both men were emotional in the dock as they pleaded guilty to the possession of an identity document with improper intention, having in their possession an identity document, namely a passport, relating to someone else.

In interview Racolta said that the passport belonged to his cousin who did not know that he was using it.

Mardare’s fake passport belonged to his brother-in -law who he said did not know that it had been taken.

Both men were planning to travel to London to seek work.

The court heard that Racolta had previous convictions in Romania but the nature of these was not known.

In his defence it was said that he was hoping to find employment in the UK to provide for his family back in Romania.

He accepted that he had tried to enter the UK illegally and that he had indicated that he would plead guilty at the earliest opportunity.

In mitigation for Mardare, the court heard that he had also taken responsibility for his wrongdoing from the outset.

In Romania his father was extremely ill and he had three children with another on the way. He had been hoping to work for a short period and send the money home.

Judge His Honour PH Thomas QC said that the act had ‘compromised the territorial integrityof this country’ and was a very serious matter.

He sentenced both men to eight months in prison, giving them a one quarter discount for their early guilty pleas. Racolta and Mardare will serve half of that sentence before release.