Four men arrested in UK in people smuggling probe

Four men have been arrested as part of an operation targeting the smuggling of migrants into the UK by lorry, the BBC reports.

The arrests were carried out by the National Crime Agency in coordinated raids in east and south-west London.

They were linked to two separate events in 2019 in which a total of 32 people were found in the back of HGVs in the Netherlands and France.

A 39-year-old was held in Dagenham on Tuesday on suspicion of conspiring to facilitate illegal immigration.

Footage of the arrest released by the NCA showed the door of a house being knocked open with a ram and a man being led out in handcuffs.

A 37-year-old was arrested in Ilford, and two men aged 36 and 42 were detained at addresses in Streatham and Leytonstone, also on suspicion of facilitation offences.

NCA branch commander Andy Noyes said: “This operation has targeted those who we suspect are key members of a people smuggling crime group.

“Organised immigration crime is a chronic and dangerous threat and the smugglers pay no regard to the lives of the people they attempt to transport, whether that be by boat or in vehicles.

“While putting people in lorries might make the issue less visible to the public, it is no less dangerous to those being smuggled, and unfortunately we have seen the tragic consequences this can have.

“Working with partners in the UK and overseas we are determined to do all we can to disrupt and dismantle the organised crime groups involved, and break down their business model.”

It is the second major operation in a week the NCA has mounted to target suspected people smugglers.

Image: National Crime Agency

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