Three arrested after foiled attempt to smuggle people to UK in high-powered boat

Three arrested after foiled attempt to smuggle people to UK in high-powered boat

Three people have been arrested on suspicion of attempting to smuggle people into the United Kingdom on a high-powered boat.

The National Crime Agency said two men from Basingstoke, Hampshire, were arrested early Sunday morning as they arrived near the Belgian coast.

Three arrested

Twelve people, all of whom were believed to be Albanians, were also detained.

A third man, 46, was apprehended in the Buckinghamshire town of Aylesbury.

Investigators believe the three men are part of a well-organized gang that smuggles people from Europe to the United Kingdom.

The arrests in Belgium, near Nieuwpoort, were carried out in collaboration with federal police and the NCA.

“We believe this operation has disrupted a suspected organized crime group involved in illegally bringing people to the UK,” NCA Branch Commander Colin Williams said.

“Attempts to reach the UK by small boat are extremely dangerous, and people smugglers are unconcerned about their passengers’ safety.”

There is growing pressure on the government to do more to prevent people from crossing into the UK and to deal with a 100,000-strong backlog of asylum applications for those who are already here.


This year, nearly 40,000 people have crossed the Channel in small boats, 10,000 more than in all of 2021.

An immigration detention center in Manston, Kent, is also housing more than double the number of people it is supposed to in “inhumane” conditions, according to the Refugee Council.

Following a petrol bomb attack at the Border Force migrant center in Dover on Sunday, hundreds more people were relocated there.