05 May 2024

Man arrested on suspicion of facilitating small boat crossings

05 May 2024

A man has been arrested on suspicion of facilitating illegal immigration to the UK.

The 38-year-old, who claims to be an Iraqi national, was detained in the early hours of Sunday in the Stefano Road area of Preston, Lancashire.

The arrest was made as part of a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation into an organised crime network believed to be organising cross-Channel small boat crossings.

A phone and documents were also seized from the address, the agency confirmed.

The arrest relates to two small boat crossings made from France to the UK in November and December 2023, which are the subject of an NCA investigation.

The individual arrested is suspected of being a facilitator for migrants wishing to travel from Turkey to the UK, advertising people smuggling services on social media.

NCA senior investigating officer Al Mullen said: “Today’s arrest marks a significant point in an international investigation into organised immigration crime.

“Tackling this threat is a priority for the NCA, we have seen only in recent weeks how dangerous these crossings are.

“We are determined to do all we can, working with partners in the UK, Europe and beyond, to target, disrupt and dismantle the criminals organising them.”

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