Home UK Immigration Europe migrant crisis: Twenty-three suspected people smugglers held

Europe migrant crisis: Twenty-three suspected people smugglers held

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Twenty-three people suspected of trying to smuggle migrants across the English Channel have been arrested.

Eleven of the arrests were in connection with Channel crossings in small boats, the Home Office said.

The other 12 were arrested in northern France following intelligence from Border Force.

More than 80 people who came to the UK illegally on boats have been returned to Europe, the government department added.

The arrests were made as Immigration Enforcement’s criminal and financial investigations team and the National Crime Agency (NCA) continue to work together amid the the ongoing migrant crisis.

Border force vesselImage copyrightPA MEDIA
Image captionBorder Force vessels are regularly patrolling the Channel

On 16 September a 49-year-old Iraqi man was arrested in Holwell, Hertfordshire, and a 60-year-old British man was arrested in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire.

Three days later, a 33-year-old British man was arrested in Middle Rasen, Lincolnshire, and a a 35-year-old Iranian man was arrested in Cardiff on 21 September.

All four were arrested on suspicion of facilitating a breach of the UK’s immigration rules in relation to small boat incidents. They have been released while investigations continue.

The NCA made seven further arrests related to small boat activity between 11 and 20 September.

The other 12 people held were arrested in France on suspicion of facilitating illegal entry into the UK in motor vehicles.

Last month, Home Secretary Priti Patel and her French counterpart agreed to develop an “enhanced action plan” to stop vessels leaving the French coast.

Border Force said it was regularly patrolling the Channel and equipment, including CCTV and night goggles, was being used along the French coast.


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