Eastern Eye (UK)

Indian national detained on suspicion of people-smuggling offences

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AN INDIAN national was among four others arrested on suspicion of people smuggling from a lorry in eastern England as part of a National Crime Agency (NCA)led investigat­ion into organised immigratio­n crime.

While a 38-year-old man was detained on suspicion of facilitati­ng illegal immigratio­n and is now being questioned, the Indian national and three Bangladesh­i nationals were detained on suspicion of immigratio­n offences.

They would be dealt with by the immigratio­n authoritie­s as suspected illegal migrants, officials said.

“People smuggling networks operate in both directions across the UK border, with the same organised crime groups often involved in bringing migrants in and moving them out,” said Ian Truby, the NCA branch operations manager.

“This poses an obvious threat to the security of both the UK and our neighbours. Those being moved out of the UK in this way may be in the country illegally, they could be trying to evade law enforcemen­t, or they might be being trafficked against their will,” he added.

“We are determined to do all we can to disrupt and dismantle the gangs who put lives at risk and threaten security.”

The NCA said its officers moved in after witnessing a Romanian-registered lorry being broken into at South Mimms services, or petrol station, on the M25 highway in the early hours of last Tuesday (30) morning. The operation was supported by the local Hertfordsh­ire Police.

The NCA investigat­ors believe that the migrants would have attempted to leave the UK in the lorry, without the driver being aware of their presence in the back of the vehicle.

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