Man arrested in small boats investigation

NCA officers raid a house in Preston
Police arrested a 38-year-old man who said he was an Iraqi national [NCA]

A man has been arrested by National Crime Agency (NCA) officers investigating gangs who organise small boat Channel crossings.

The NCA said the 38-year-old, who told them he was Iraqi, was detained at a house on Stefano Road, Preston, on suspicion of "facilitating illegal immigration" to the UK.

Phones and documents were also seized.

The arrest is linked to two small boat crossings from France to the UK in November and December 2023, the NCA said.

'Significant arrest'

The agency said the man was suspected of being a fixer for migrants wishing to travel from Turkey to the UK, advertising people-smuggling services on social media.

NCA senior investigating officer Al Mullen said the arrest was "significant" and tackling organised immigration crime was a priority for the agency.

"We have seen only in recent weeks how dangerous these crossings are," he said.

“We are determined to do all we can, working with partners in the UK, Europe and beyond, to target, disrupt and dismantle the criminals organising them."

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