Eleven arrested linked with illegally facilitating Channel crossings
Eleven people have been arrested in relation to illegally facilitating migrant crossings of the Channel.
The joint operation took place in a number of locations last week (Tuesday 21 July) and was led by Immigration Enforcement Criminal and Financial Investigations. The operation, which was conducted in conjunction with the Metropolitan Police, the National Crime Agency (NCA), Border Force and French law enforcement counterparts, was into organised immigration crime.
During the searches £150,000 cash was discovered and 2 vehicles were seized from the premises.
Those arrested are suspected of being members of an organised crime group that are enabling the facilitation of illegal migrants using small boats between France and the UK.
They were allegedly engaged in the movement of funds to support the illegal crossings and promoting the illegal entry of migrants into the UK, these arrests will significantly disrupt this activity.
Ten individuals arrested on Tuesday 21 July were taken to Wembley Police Station and released under investigation pending further enquiries. Another individual was arrested on Thursday 23 July. 12 properties were raided, 11 of which were in London and one in Sheffield.
Home Secretary Priti Patel yesterday said:
I will not tolerate ruthless criminals looking to break to law by smuggling people into the UK illegally. I will put whatever resource is necessary to dismantle these gangs and stop these dangerous crossings, including going after the groups financing these criminal operations.
This is a clear message to those behind these reckless crossings. We will find you and we will stop at nothing to put you behind bars and strip you of your ill-gotten gains.
Minister for Immigration Compliance and the Courts Chris Philp, who attended the raid, yesterday said:
This action shows that we have the intelligence and capability to track down anyone involved in people trafficking. Through this operation we have hit them where it hurts – their pockets.
We will stop at nothing to stop these dangerous and illegal Channel crossings and to make sure the criminals behind them are locked up and their assets are stripped.
The arrests mark the culmination of months of intelligence sharing and collaborative working between UK and French law enforcement agencies into the organised criminal gangs facilitating immigration crime.
Matthew Long, NCA Deputy Director, yesterday said:
People smuggling gangs treat migrants as a commodity to be profited from, with no thought for their safety and security. This can have tragic consequences as we’ve sadly seen.
Tackling this crime type and protecting life are priorities for us. We are working as one team with partners such as Immigration Enforcement, Border Force and policing. NCA officers in the UK deployed on this operation and our teams based in France also contributed. This is how we need to tackle this threat, using our international network, day in, day out.
We have a shared determination to disrupt and dismantle organised immigration crime networks, and this operation is an example of that co-operation in action. Those who profit from misery should be ready to be brought to justice.
Priti Patel met the new French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin on Sunday 12 July to discuss how the French and UK governments can do more to tackle illegally-facilitated Channel crossings by small boats. Through a Declaration of Intent, it was agreed that a Franco-British Operational Research Unit to combat migrant smuggling will be established.
The new unit will collate, centralise and analyse operational intelligence to prevent crossings from taking place and to dismantle the gangs behind them.
Latest News from
Police given new powers to tackle hostile state activity13/08/2020 15:20:00
Police officers now have powers to stop, question, search and detain individuals at UK ports in relation to espionage and foreign interference.
Home Secretary appoints small boat commander11/08/2020 11:10:00
Dan O'Mahoney has been appointed to collaborate with the French to tackle Channel crossings.
£14million of cocaine and amphetamines seized by Border Force10/08/2020 11:25:00
The drugs were hidden in a lorry load of flowers stopped in Coquelles.
Priti Patel thanks firefighters for tireless efforts during coronavirus07/08/2020 15:20:00
Thousands of firefighters have taken on additional duties during the pandemic as the Home Secretary hears about their experiences on a Merseyside FRS visit.
Home Secretary sees first-hand the science supporting UK police06/08/2020 11:10:00
Dstl – the science inside UK defence and security showcased a selection of the vital work it is doing on behalf the Home Office.
Two charged in small boat people smuggling investigation05/08/2020 16:20:00
Two men have been charged as part of an Immigration Enforcement investigation into a suspected small boat people smuggling incident in Southwold.
More than 4,000 extra police officers to fight crime as recruitment continues31/07/2020 11:15:00
Police have already recruited 22% of 20,000 officer target while workforce stats show largest annual increase in officer numbers since 2003 to 2004.
Safer Streets Fund to tackle burglary and theft29/07/2020 15:20:00
Thirty-five police and crime commissioners (PCCs) are to receive funding from a £25 million scheme to crack down on burglary and theft in crime hotspots.