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A 43-year-old man from the Isle of Wight has been arrested as part of a major, multi-agency investigation into the attempted smuggling of migrants into the UK via boat.

The South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU), the National Crime Agency, Border Force and French authorities were all involved in the operation at the tail end of last week, with assistance from Hampshire Constabulary’s Marine Unit.

It is said that a vessel left the Isle of Wight on Friday, at around 02:00 in the morning, and travelled south to Cherbourg in France. It is unknown which local port the boat left from.

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During the early hours of Saturday morning, as the fishing vessel prepared to leave France for the UK, officers made their move and found 5 migrants, believed to be Albanian nationals, on board.

2 British men and 1 Albanian man were arrested in France and shortly afterwards officers moved in to arrest a 43-year-old man on the Isle of Wight on suspicion of conspiracy to facilitate illegal immigration and money laundering.

Island Echo has been able to confirm that National Crime Agency officers were seen in Ryde on Saturday afternoon at around 13:00. Furthermore, it is thought one of the British men arrested in France lives in Bembridge.

The 43-year-old has since been released on bail, however, the 3 men arrested in France remain in French custody.

Detective Inspector Clair Trueman of SEROCU has said:

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“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.”

Martin Matthews, NCA branch operations manager, says:

“These arrests were made as a result of co-operation between the NCA, SEROCU, Border Force and our French partners.

“Working with them we are determined to do all we can to disrupt and dismantle criminal networks involved in immigration crime.

“People smugglers treat migrants as a commodity to be profited from, and are content to put them in situations of extreme danger. That is why this type of crime is a priority for us.”

The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
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Dave Miller

What an absolute


I hope your relatives never need to seek asylum abroad. Abhorrent comments.

Wonder why

You don’t suppose Iraq or any other country are going to start offering state benefits do you? If you could let me know I would love to move to a sunny side country and live on the dole, imagine being in a council house in ibiza…. Listen to your own words…. Not sure you live on my planet


I live in the real world, have you lived in a war torn country? No one is better than their fellow man. I’d rather they arrived claiming asylum than being smuggled, around 30 men women and children land on UK shores a day desperate to leave the life they had and all the family they once knew behind. A small minded nimby would think they do that for benefits. Like it or not, they will arrive, and local authorities have signed a charter to house them, even IWC . Look up compassion – It may serve you well. Then again… Read more »


So, where is the WAR zone in Europe?????


Perhaps you haven’t noticed but it’s a big world out there.


Don’t you read the news, we aren’t part of Europe – We are part of something far far bigger.

Dave Miller

Pathetic comment


Can’t handle the facts huh?


How many immigrants have you taken into your home?????

Red Squirrel

Be glad when the schools reopen so he can go back and start learning again, he constantly talks rubbish whenever he comes on the forum which suggests he was at the back of the queue when brain cells were issued Dave.

Merry Hill

Anyone who brings more potential unchecked, untraceable potential extremists, rapists, muggers, here need to be jailed for a very very long time.


Quite agree, unfortunately when the Navy, Border Force, Coastguards, whoever, do intercept these people in the Channel they bring them ashore anyway.


But will they this country is too easy they let all sorts in we dont want them here isle of white………..

Just Sayin’

It’s Wight not white


It’s neither it’s the Isle Of Wight, and everyone is welcome!


Welcome them with open arms my freind

Bob bob

Hopefully not


Every Authority including the IWC has signed a charter to re home asylum seekers.

Are you going to build some gallows on Ryde Esplanade in case they misbehave?

I’d start by welcoming them to that little Island of yours.

Old bean

Merry hill your words are perfect well done


This is good news
But why is it the french still have them locked up but this idiot has been released over here. They should keep him locked up

isla wight

If they keep them in custody it counts toward their final custodial sentence and is taken off that amount, if it takes a while to build a case against him and he’s inside for a couple of months that’s two off the 6 months he’ll get, so if he’s out all the better, if he stays in this country, sounds like he would be able to find a fake passport and papers to disappear.




Well done Border Force two big time Island smugglers caught in one week .

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