AN Albanian man has admitted his part in smuggling a family into Southend from his home country.

Besart Bulica has admitted his role in getting an Albanian woman and her two daughters, aged 12 and six, into the borough via Ireland during summer this year.

The 31-year-old, who has lived in Essex for several years, agreed to help the father of the family get his loved ones into the county after the younger daughter had developed a kidney problem.

The dad wanted his daughter to be treated in England and so enlisted the help of Bulica, as he had arrived in the country via similar means in 2010.

Bulica appeared at Basildon Crown Court yesterday where he admitted one count of assisting unlawful immigration from a country outside of the EU.

The court was told Bulica and the other Albanian national had met via an Afghan shop in Southend and Bulica had agreed to contact others who smuggle people into the country to get his family to Southend.

Jamie Sawyer, prosecuting, told the court that the family had been transported via land vehicles and the ferry from Ireland to the UK on June 19 this year.

He said: “The father received a call from the defendant who said he needed to be able to produce £34,000 by June 19 to pay for the family’s transport into the country.

“He said that he couldn’t pay it, and the defendant said he needed to or his family would not be delivered.”

The price was negotiated down to £30,000, and once it was paid, the family were delivered to the father at Chalkwell Park.

Mr Sawyer said Bulica was “a cog in a large machine” and that he had made stressful demands for high sums of cash.

However, in mitigation for Bulica the court heard he was “a middle man” who was only acting as a go-between for the father and the men doing the smuggling.

The family in question are being held by immigration forces and are potentially facing deportation from the UK.

Judge Samantha Leigh chose to adjourn Bulica’s sentencing until November 26 so she can read all transcripts of the phone conversations.

She said: “I am not sentencing you until I have read those transcripts. I want to see the exact circumstances that took place.”

The maximum penalty for assisting unlawful immigration is 14 years. Bulica, of Timberlog Lane, Basildon, was remanded in custody.