A Devon man has been arrested in Plymouth on suspicion of people smuggling offences, after allegedly using his own boat to transport migrants across the Channel.
National Crime Agency investigators arrested the 57-year-old in the Lydford area of the city.
He is alleged to have used a pleasure craft to transport at least ten migrants from Normandy.
Authorities have told GB News they have seen an increase in the number of fishing boats and other vessels being chartered by organised crime groups GB News
It follows an incident reported to the police on 15 June, after a speedboat was seen dropping a group of suspected migrants on a beach near Dartmouth.
The group was seen running up the beach at Slapton Sands and disappearing off in waiting vehicles.
The suspect arrested in Plymouth has been taken into custody for questioning by NCA officers.
The National Crime Agency’s Branch Commander Matt Rivers said: “This arrest follows a lengthy investigation into an individual we think has been using his boat to bring migrants into the UK illegally.
National Crime Agency investigators arrested the 57-year-old in the Lydford area of the city. GB News
“While transporting people in a larger boat may appear safer, it remains extremely dangerous to be making any unauthorised journey in the Channel. People smugglers pay no regard to the lives of the people they are transporting.
“Tackling organised immigration crime is a key priority for the NCA and we work to target and disrupt organised crime groups involved at each step of the route.”
Authorities have told GB News they have seen an increase in the number of fishing boats and other vessels being chartered by organised crime groups to smuggle people across the Channel.
Many of the boats are being used to smuggle Albanian nationals to the UK. Authorities say many Albanians do not want to enter the asylum system, and want to disappear off, so they can work in the illegal economy or for criminal gangs.