Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 13°C

min temp: 9°C

Search

‘Doing our best to keep a vigil’ - Coastal patrollers refute claims of weak border security

PUBLISHED: 11:04 29 August 2018 | UPDATED: 14:31 29 August 2018

John Cresswell, operations manager for the Felixstowe Volunteer Coast Patrol Rescue Service (FVCPRS) Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

John Cresswell, operations manager for the Felixstowe Volunteer Coast Patrol Rescue Service (FVCPRS) Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

Volunteer crews patrolling the Suffolk coast have introduced new procedures to deal with the increased likelihood of encountering people smugglers.

The Felixstowe Volunteer Coast Patrol Rescue Service (FVCPRS), has also increased its patrols of key waterways due to a rise in immigration and “other suspicious activities”.

Operations manager John Cresswell made the comments in response to concerns raised last week about Suffolk’s vulnerability to smugglers in the wake of an immigration incident at Woolvestone marina.

Mr Cresswell acknowledged parts of Suffolk’s “very exposed and isolated” coastline had historically been a “smugglers’ soft touch”, however he disputed the suggestion nothing was being done to combat security threats.

While Mr Creswell said initiatives, such as Project Kraken, which encouraged communities to report suspicious behaviour, had “stalled”, he insisted his volunteers, together with Border Force, Coastguard and Coastwatch “are doing our best to keep a vigil”.

FVCPRS, as one of the UK’s 61 independent, regulated lifeboat organisations has been patrolling the southern Suffolk coast, estuaries and rivers for the past 20 years. Last year, FVCPRS completed up to 5,000 miles of patrols, including 216 of the Harwich approaches, 108 of the Orwell, 96 of the Deben, 15 of the Story and 10 of the Ore.

Its work as a free marine resource for Suffolk Constabulary features on national TV shows.

Given the organisation’s long-standing work to protect the coastline, Mr Cresswell said it was disappointing not to have received greater recognition from authorities. “Being overlooked yet again makes us believe that we should be called ‘ghost’ rather than coast patrol,” he said. “We may be volunteers ... but we can be out there somewhere day or night as and when required.”

Mr Cresswell said the increase in people smuggling was likely to continue, leading to the introduction of operating procedures and risk assessments to prepare crews for a migrant boat encounter.

The team is also set to launch a new boat, Last Orders, next year, which will feature next generation engines and navigation tools including a radar linked to a thermal night vision camera.

Visit Felixstowe Coast Patrol for more information.

Today we can finally reveal the names of the people selected to be on our first ever Inspiring Women of Suffolk list.

This is a list that Suffolk should be proud of - 100 women who are positive role models for future generations, women who have achieved success in a diverse range of fields from business, the arts, sport and education to the third sector.

The list was put together by a panel of judges this summer after we asked readers for their nominations.

A Colchester woman accused of murdering a rough sleeper, whose badly beaten body was found in a car park, allegedly saw one of her co-defendants bite off the victim’s ear lobe and try to get him to swallow it.

Adriano Guedes, aged 65, of Kessingland, moved to England from Portugal more than 15 years ago and was admitted to hospital in 2014 after having a stroke.

A woman walking her dog along a footpath in Sudbury was confronted by a man who demanded her mobile phone.

Tributes have been paid to the former principal of Chadacre Agricultural College, John Paton Philip MBE, who has died at the age of 92.

The sea wall of an island off the coast of Suffolk is being lowered by almost half a metre to prevent it flooding in stormy weather.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

MyDate24 MyPhotos24