UKIP leader Nigel Farage has hit back after a mainstream media onslaught following a comment he made about Romanian people.
Farage clashed with LBC’s James O’Brien yesterday, in a radio interview that the media was quick to label as a “car crash”. Instead, Farage argues that the likes of O’Brien and others simply don’t understand his point because they “are people living in million pound houses for whom the prospect of such a turn of events is not a real one”.
The prospect itself is the idea of a group of Romanians suddenly moving in next door, which Farage has previously said he would find concerning. Media sources were quick to slam Farage’s reiteration of this claim yesterday, despite evidence to suggest that organised crime is higher in Romanian immigrant communities.
European policing organisation Europol has itself issued warnings about crime from Bulgarian and Romanian gangs, stating: “We have this travelling criminal gang phenomenon that has become much more prevalent in the last three or four years; gangs from Lithuania, gangs from Poland, gangs from Romania that are operating in 20 or more European countries.
“They fly on low-cost airlines, do a few hits in one city and get back in time for tea. It’s very different for the local police to respond to that.”
Farage said in response to yesterday’s LBC interview: “The unfortunate reality is that we are in political union with a post-Communist country that has become highly susceptible to organised crime.
“Where there are differential crime rates between nationalities, it is perfectly legitimate to point this out and to discuss it in the public sphere and I shall continue to do so.
“Police figures are quite clear that there is a high level of criminality within the Romanian community in Britain. This is not to say for a moment that all or even most Romanian people living in the UK are criminals.
Indeed The Sun reported just at the end of last year that Romanian criminal leader Mario Mailat said of his 70-strong criminal gang: “In Britain you don’t go to jail for a first offence. It’s safer and easier to steal.”