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news 31 Jan 18

Albanian Gangster’s Jail Boast Angers UK Prisons

Albanian jailbird’s complaints about the lack of prostitutes in British prisons has put the media spotlight back on criminality among Balkan migrants in the UK.

 London. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Collin.

An Albanian gangster jailed in the UK for 25 years in 2016 has angered the UK Prison service – and risks lengthening his jail term – by illegally posting messages on social networks complaining about the lack of prostitutes in British prisons.

Tristen Asllani made media headlines on Tuesday by posting pictures and messages on an Instagram site called My Albanian in Jail, stripped to the waist, apparently laughing and writing: “The only thing missing [in UK jails] is whores”.

Albanians jailed in the UK have caused a furore before, by repeatedly illegally posting pictures of themselves stripped half-naked, flexing their biceps, dancing, tucking into meals and boasting of having a good time.

Iphones are banned in UK jails and prisoners are not allowed to post on social networks without specific permission.

Amid sizzling media headlines, the UK Prison Service warned that Asllani was liable to face disciplinary measures, including an increased jail term.

“Those who break prison rules will face tough punishments, including extra time behind bars,” it said.

Asllani was jailed for 25 years in 2016 after police in London found him in possession of millions of pounds’ worth of cocaine and a sub-machine gun.

He was allegedly a senior member of a crime syndicate nicknamed the “Hellbanianz”. His two accomplices, both Albanian, were jailed for eight and nine years respectively.

Two years ago, Albanian criminals serving sentences in Dorset, in western England, caused uproar by posting pictures of themselves partying in jail under the headline: “Hello, Life is Fun”.

About 716 prisoners out of a total UK jail population of 85,000 are ethnic Albanians.

Altogether, about 11,000 UK prisoners are foreign nationals – an unacceptably high number in officials’ opinions, given the expense of keeping people behind bars.

Poles and Irish top the league of foreign national prisoners, followed by Jamaicans, Somalis and Romanians.

However, the relatively high number of Albanians in jail, given the small size of the community, is causing concern.

The 1,000 or so Polish born prisoners are drawn from a community believed to number about a million.

The 716 Albanians are drawn from a community that few believe to exceed 100,000.

Britain’s national crime agency, NCA, last year voiced concern about the “high profile” of Albanian gangs involved in drug trafficking in the UK.

It said they now had “considerable control over the UK drug trafficking market” and added: “The threat faced from Albanian crime groups is significant.”

In 2012, the UK signed an agreement with Albania designed to repatriate Albanians serving sentences of more than four years.

However, progress in this has been minimal, owing to concerns in the UK that the prisoners would escape or be freed if they were returned home.

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