A “PROFESSIONAL” people smuggler who operated across Europe to fly Somalians illegally into the UK has been jailed at York Crown Court for six years.

Four other men who with Abubaker Omar, 27, formed a fraud gang that twice targeted McArthur Glen Designer Outlet, were jailed alongside him. All are Somalian or of Somalian origin.

The Honorary Recorder of York, Judge Paul Batty QC, said they had engaged in “theft on an industrial scale” by cynical tactics of high value items using other people’s card details.

“The money obtained was used to furnish an extravagant lifestyle of a transient nature,” he said, describing how they had bought £500 entry tickets to a nightclub VIP lounge and drank vodka until dawn, and one was caught with cocaine after he had partied non-stop for three days.

Michael Bosomworth, prosecuting, said some gang members would distract shop assistants while others keyed stolen credit card numbers into card machines at checkouts.

The frauds on October 1 and October 18 totalled £3,800.

But their activities ended on October 18, 2014, when a sharp-eyed shop manager realised the four other than Omar were cheating her shop and called police.

The same month, Omar met a Somali outside the UK to whom he gave an air ticket and a stolen passport so he could fly into Leeds Bradford Airport. He had similarly arranged for other illegal immigrants to fly into Stansted Airport between January 2012 to June 2013, the court heard.

“You were involved professionally in people smuggling for profit,” Judge Batty told him.

All five pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud except Ahmed Ali, who denied the charge but was convicted by a York jury last month.

Omar, of Leeds, also pleaded guilty to two charges of people smuggling and was jailed for six years. His barrister Michael Jowett said he had several times tried to take his own life since his arrest and was on anti-psychotic drugs.

Courier Mubidi Kassim, 30, of Manchester, also pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine and was jailed for 16 months, as was shopworker Abdinasir Mohamed, 28, now of Birmingham, who admitted a similar card fraud in Stockport.

Law graduate, semi-professional footballer and interpreter Ahmed Ali, 26, of Manchester, and delivery driver Mohammed Ali, 25, of Manchester, were both jailed for 12 months.

Barristers for the four who were not people smugglers said they had reformed since their arrests.