East Sussex man arrested for helping smugglers in France


A 30-year-old man was arrested in town today. Photo of NCA SUS-201016-164554001

National Crime Agency (NCA) investigators said they made a series of arrests in two separate investigations targeting suspected human smugglers.

NCA officers arrested the 30-year-old in Hastings around 9 a.m. yesterday morning (Friday October 16).

Shortly after, a property in Battle Road, St Leonards, was searched.

The seized vessel was recovered at St Margaret’s Bay, Kent, on September 2. Photo of NCA SUS-201016-164713001

The operation was supported by Sussex Police officers.

The NCA said the investigation focused on the sale and distribution of ships that originated in the UK and then taken to France for use in attempted cross-Channel facilitation.

Officers said they suspected the person concerned to be linked to a number of vessels that were used for migrant crossings.

One of these ships was recovered at St Margaret’s Bay in Kent on September 2, when around 400 people reached the UK using small boats.

The investigation is supported by Project Invigor, the NCA-led Immigration Crime Task Force, but also by immigration police, border forces and CPS, as well as by forces of the French order.

Meanwhile, NCA agents have made another round of arrests in an investigation into a criminal ring suspected of smuggling migrants into the UK in vans or lorries.

They detained four men, two Albanian nationals and two Romanian nationals, near A2 Cobham services in Kent at around 8 a.m. today after witnessing what was allegedly a transfer of migrants from a truck towards two cars.

Four Albanian migrants were also arrested and have now been handed over to immigration authorities.

All those arrested are currently being questioned on suspicion of facilitating illegal immigration.

Andrea Wilson, NCA Regional Investigations Manager, said: “Organized criminal groups involved in human trafficking are cynical in their exploitation of migrants and are happy to put them in incredibly dangerous and life-threatening situations, either in boats or in the back. trucks.

“We believe that this activity today will significantly disrupt at least two of these networks.

“Working with partners, we are determined to do all we can to disrupt and dismantle the criminals behind these crossings, and our investigation into this particular criminal enterprise continues.”

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