Two arrested in connection with migrant smuggling after 14 men detained in Southwold

Two men were arrested in connection with incident at Southwold Harbour last year. Picture: SARAH LUC

Two men were arrested in connection with incident at Southwold Harbour last year. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Two people have been arrested as part of an international investigation into the smuggling of migrants into the UK by boat after an incident in Southwold last year.

The two men were arrested by officers from Immigration Enforcement’s Criminal and Financial Investigation Team at five addresses in Grimethorpe, Bradford and Wakefield at approximately 6am on Thursday, June 25.

A 34-year-old Albanian man was arrested at an address in Bradford on suspicion of illegal entry to the UK and drugs offences.

At an address in Wakefield, a 24-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of illegal entry to the UK.

Approximately £9,000 in cash and around 60 cannabis plants were also seized in the operation, along with other evidence.

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Earlier in the day, as part of the same investigation, Belgian authorities arrested 10 people and seized a gun after searching 12 addresses mainly in the Liège region.

These arrests followed an incident on December 4 last year, when 14 Albanian men were detained on suspicion of entering the UK illegally via a vessel that had docked at Southwold Harbour.

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The incident was dealt with by Immigration Enforcement officers and an investigation was launched and is being supported by the National Crime Agency and Project Invigor, the UK’s organised immigration crime task force.

Minister for immigration compliance and the courts, Chris Philp, said: “These arrests were made as part of an ongoing investigation into a suspected organised crime group involved in people smuggling.

“We believe that the arrests made in the UK and Belgium will have significantly disrupted the group’s activities.

“People smuggling is an abhorrent crime that treats migrants as human cargo to be profited from.

“Working with partners at home and abroad, we are determined to do all we can to dismantle the criminal networks involved in illegal immigration.”

The operation on Thursday, June 25, was supported by officers from West Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Police.

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