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Further arrest by NCA over suspected people smuggling via small boats

A fifth man has been arrested as part of a National Crime Agency investigation into a group alleged to have smuggled migrants from Belgium to the UK in boats.

The 44-year-old Albanian national, living in Leicester, was apprehended by NCA officers in Loughborough this morning (Wednesday 15 March) on suspicion of people smuggling offences. 

A boat was also seized by the NCA in Brightlingsea, Essex.

The operation is linked to the arrest of four others in February, who were later charged with assisting unlawful immigration and are due to appear at Nottingham Crown Court on 29 March.

The men are alleged to be part of a gang organising a series of people smuggling runs to the UK from Europe, and are believed to be responsible for a number of crossing events last year.

NCA Senior Investigating Officer Derek Evans said: “The man arrested yesterday is suspected of involvement in a plot to use small boats in a series of people smuggling runs.

“Tackling organised immigration crime is a priority for the NCA, and our investigation continues.”

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