Image copyright Susan Pilcher Image caption National Crime Agency officers examine a boat at Greatstone beach in Kent that arrived carrying 12 migrants on 31 December 2018 An Iranian national and a British man have been arrested on suspicion of arranging the “illegal movement of migrants” across the English Channel.The National Crime Agency said the…
An Iranian national and a British man have been arrested on suspicion of arranging the “illegal movement of migrants” across the English Channel.
The National Crime Agency said the 33-year-old Iranian and 24-year-old Briton were held in Manchester.
It comes after the government redeployed patrol vessels from the Mediterranean amid concerns over a rising number of crossings.
A total of 239 people have reached the UK by boat since November.
The NCA announced the arrests in a statement, adding: “As the investigation is ongoing, we are unable to comment further at this time.”
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On Wednesday, Home Secretary Sajid Javid was in Dover visiting Border Force staff patrolling the Channel.
Twelve migrants were found on the Kent coast last week and Mr Javid defended escalating the UK’s response, saying 80% of the 539 people who had attempted to cross in small boats in 2018, had done so since October.
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French police said they stopped 14 migrants attempting to cross the Channel from Boulogne on Tuesday, the latest in a growing number of people intercepted by the French authorities in the past month.
As part of a joint action plan agreed with France last week, Mr Javid – who cut short his holiday to deal with the issue – has ordered two UK Border Force boats to be redeployed from overseas to patrol the Channel.
Only one of the five Border Force cutters – specialist boats which the force describes as being capable of rescuing several migrant boats at the same time – had been working in the Straits of Dover.
The two being brought back are currently in the Mediterranean, where they have been taking part in Operation Frontex, the pan-European effort to deal with much larger migration flows from North Africa and the Middle East, to Italy and Greece.