National Crime Agency
Four arrested in people smuggling investigation after migrants rescued from truck
Four men have been arrested as part of a National Crime Agency investigation into a crime group suspected of transporting migrants from the continent into the UK in the back of lorries.
The arrests followed the discovery of 10 migrants in a lorry carrying a load of tyres near Ghent in Belgium on Thursday 5 March. The migrants, believed to be two adults and eight juveniles, are thought to be from south east Asia.
The Belgian authorities were acting on information from the NCA, and arrested the driver of the vehicle, a 64-year-old man from Glasgow.
NCA officers then arrested three further men, two in Dover, Irish nationals aged 39 and 48, on suspicion of facilitating illegal immigration. A 30-year-old man was subsequently arrested in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, today (Friday 6 March).
All three are now in custody being questioned by NCA investigators, while officers have also carried out searches at properties in Northern Ireland and Kent. At an address in Kent two suspected firearms were seized.
NCA regional head of investigation Gerry McLean said:
“Our close working with our Belgian partners in this instance has led to the safeguarding of a number of migrants who had been put in a very dangerous situation, and we are grateful for their support.
“We have seen only recently in Essex the tragic consequences which these types of attempts can have.
“Working with partners at home and abroad, we are determined to do all we can to disrupt and dismantle criminal networks involved in illegal immigration, and our investigation into this matter continues.”
West Flanders Prosecutor Frank Demeester added:
“This kind of human smuggling is very dangerous, and the operation proves once more that international cooperation works in the fight against this type of organised crime.
“The contacts between the British NCA and Belgian Federal Judicial Police, maritime police and prosecutors have become more intense in recent years.
“In the fight against human smuggling, the UK is obviously an important partner as being the country of destination.”
Latest News from
National Crime Agency
Lorry driver hid cocaine worth £160k in overhead locker26/02/2021 12:33:00
A lorry driver has been jailed for five years after attempting to smuggle two kilos of cocaine into the UK.
Major cocaine haul seized in Belfast as part of NCA investigation25/02/2021 10:15:00
Cocaine worth an estimated £1.6 million has been seized in Northern Ireland, as part of a National Crime Agency investigation into drug supply
Huge 1.5 tonne heroin haul seized in international operation25/02/2021 09:15:00
An operation involving the National Crime Agency has resulted in the one of the largest ever seizures of heroin in the Europe, denying millions of pounds of profits to organised crime groups
Child sex offender pretended to be boy online to target 11-year-old girl24/02/2021 11:15:00
A child sex offender who groomed an 11-year-old girl by pretending to be a 15-year-old boy online has been jailed for three years.
Suspected money launderer arrested as part of NCA investigation into small boats people smuggling24/02/2021 10:33:00
A man who is suspected of money laundering and handling payments relating to people smuggling has been arrested as part of a National Crime Agency investigation.
DNA on carrier bags linked lorry drivers to £3.2 million heroin shipment22/02/2021 14:15:00
Two lorry drivers have been jailed for a combined 27 years following a National Crime Agency investigation into the seizure of 32 kilos of heroin at Harwich port.
Leon Cullen extradited to the UK from United Arab Emirates22/02/2021 13:15:00
A 33-year-old man from Warrington suspected of being the head of a crime group supplying firearms and drugs has been extradited to the UK from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
2.3 tonnes of cocaine seized before reaching UK streets22/02/2021 10:05:00
Ten people have been arrested in North London in relation to the seizure of approximately 2.3 tonnes of cocaine imported to the UK in a consignment of bananas
NCA releases updated list of ancillary orders22/02/2021 09:05:00
The NCA has released its latest list of restrictions imposed upon serious organised criminals, supporting the management of serious offenders. It includes Serious Crime Prevention Orders, Financial Reporting Orders and Travel Restriction Orders