A pregnant woman was among 5 migrants found on a boat in France it has been confirmed, as further details about the people smuggling investigation involving an Isle of Wight boat emerge.
As previously reported by Island Echo, a total of 4 men have been arrested as part of an investigation into people smuggling which is being led by the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU). This includes a 43-year-old man who was arrested in Ryde on Saturday but has since been released on bail.
According to La Presse de la Manchie, the 30ft vessel was intercepted by Border Police, Maritime Gendarmerie and the French Navy during the early hours of Saturday morning. It has now been confirmed by French authorities that the 5 migrants found on board – 4 men and a pregnant woman – are of Albanian nationality. They are now subjects of ‘an administrative procedure’.
2 Brits and an Albanian arrested in France remain in custody for association of criminals and assistance with entry, movement or stay in the territory of a State party to the protocol of Palermo against the smuggling of migrants in organized gangs. The trio will appear in the Criminal Court of Cherbourg on Thursday.
Although the arrested individuals are yet to be named, Island Echo understands that one of the men may come from the East Wight area. His family have raised concerns as to his whereabouts and are now hoping to gather further information from Police and the Foreign Office.
Detective Inspector Clair Trueman of SEROCU said yesterday:
“We have worked closely with our counterparts in France and wider UK Law Enforcement partners in order to stop those who attempt to facilitate illegal immigration.
“In this particular case the intention of the organised crime group was to transport a group of illegal migrants into the UK on a small boat.
“These criminals exploit vulnerable people in communities in order to make money without any considerations for their welfare.
“SEROCU will continue to work jointly with the NCA, Border and authorities broad to catch these organised crime groups and protect those at risk from them.”