Three men who trafficked Vietnamese teens into the UK using an inflatable boat have been jailed.

Christian King, 38, of Worcester Park, Henry Dunn, 38, of Sevenoaks and James David, 31, of New Malden, were all charged with conspiracy to facilitate unlawful entry into the UK and sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

All three defendants were arrested as the result of an intelligence-led investigation carried out by the Met’s Specialist Crime Command.

Officers used a range of overt and covert tactics to trace the activities of the group, eventually arresting them in the process of trafficking four Vietnamese males – aged 14, 15, 16 and 23 - into the UK.

Between November 4-6 2017, Davis and King were seen travelling between Dymchurch and Hastings with an inflatable boat attached to one of their vehicles.

They moved along the coastal roads observing areas of beach, attempting to identify a suitable point to enter into water.

Telephone records showed throughout this period King remained in regular telephone contact with Dunn.

On November 7 2017, Davis and King travelled to Dymchurch where the boat was entered into the English Channel with Davis on board.

Davis made his way to a beach on the outskirts of Boulogne, a journey of approximately 45 miles, where he met with another male, who placed four young Vietnamese males into the boat.

After returning to the UK, Davis escorted the four males to a vehicle parked in a harbour in Folkestone, Kent. The passengers entered the vehicle and were driven away.

Davis was arrested at the scene and King was arrested nearby shortly after. The vehicle containing the four Vietnamese males was stopped on the M20 just outside Folkestone.

The three teenage victims were placed into the care of social services.

The 23-year-old told officers he was trafficked against his will to France, where he was forced into servitude for several months before being taken to the French coast and put into the boat.

Dunn handed himself in to police in Barking on May 24 2018, where he was arrested for his part in the conspiracy.

Officers from the Met’s Marine Police found the inflatable boat to be in an overall poor condition, with no warning lights or emergency radio on board, meaning it would have been invisible to passing freight vessels.

The boat had been modified, causing the battery to be situated directly next to the fuel tank, which could have led to an explosion on the vessel.

While there were flares within the boat, they were out of date, and no life jackets were on board.

King, of Ruskin Drive, denied the offence but was convicted following trial on March 22 and jailed for nine years.

Dunn, of Barnfield Park, was also found guilty of participating in the activities of an organised crime network (OCN) and jailed for nine years.

Davis, of Tennyson Avenue, pleaded guilty to both offences at an earlier hearing. He was jailed for four years and six months.