Two men charged in Southwold people smuggling investigation

Border Force officers boarded a yacht moored at Southwold Harbour Picture: MICHAEL STEWARD

Border Force officers boarded a yacht moored at Southwold Harbour Picture: MICHAEL STEWARD - Credit: Archant

Two Ukrainian men have been charged with immigration offences as part of an investigation into suspected people smuggling on the Suffolk coast.

The two men were arrested following an operation by Border Force officers at Southwold Harbour.

Both have been charged with facilitating a breach of UK immigration laws and are due to appear for a crown court hearing in Ipswich next month.

It follows a small boat people smuggling investigation which culminated on the shore of the seaside town at the end of last week.

A Border Force spokesman said: “Two men have been charged as part of an Immigration Enforcement investigation into a suspected small boat people smuggling incident in Southwold.”

Denys Khvatkov and Bohdan Lutskyi appeared before Norwich Magistrates’ Court on Monday, August 3.

Both men were charged with facilitating a breach of the UK’s immigration laws.

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The Ukrainian nationals were remanded in custody to appear at Ipswich Crown Court on Tuesday, September 1.

Khvatkov, 19, and 29-year-old Lutskyi had been arrested on Friday, July 31 after a Border Force cutter had targeted a yacht as it sailed from the Netherlands towards the east coast of the UK.

When the sailing vessel moored at Southwold Harbour shortly after 9pm, Border Force officers boarded the yacht and found four people – Khvatkov, Lutskyi, and two Albanian nationals with no leave to enter the UK.

Following the arrests, the case was referred to the Home Office Immigration Enforcement department’s criminal and financial investigation team.

Minister for Immigration Compliance and the Courts, Chris Philp said: “We will not tolerate ruthless criminals looking to break the law by smuggling people into the UK illegally.

“Working together with partners at home and abroad, Border Force and Immigration Enforcement are determined to disrupt and dismantle organised immigration crime networks.

“Those who profit from the misery of others will be brought to justice.

Border Force officials said the Albanian nationals were being dealt with in line with immigration rules.

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