Man arrested in Preston in connection with illegal small boat crossings

A man has been arrested at an address in Preston as part of an investigation into an organised crime network suspected of organising cross-Channel small boat crossings.

The 38-year-old, who claimed to be an Iraqi national, was detained on suspicion of facilitating illegal immigration to the UK on Sunday morning in the Stefano Road area of Preston.

Phones and documents were also seized from the address by National Crime Agency officers.

The arrest relates to two small boat crossings made from France to the UK in November and December 2023, which are the subject of an NCA investigation.

The individual arrested is suspected of being a facilitator for migrants wishing to travel from Turkey to the UK, advertising people smuggling services on social media.

NCA Senior Investigating Officer Al Mullen said: “Today’s arrest marks a significant point in an international investigation into organised immigration crime.

“Tackling this threat is a priority for the NCA, we have seen only in recent weeks how dangerous these crossings are.

“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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