A man has been arrested on suspicion of smuggling migrants across the channel to the UK in his pleasure boat. A 57-year-old was arrested in Plymouth, Devon on Wednesday after allegedly using his boat to transport at least ten migrants from Normandy across the channel on June 15 this year.
On the alleged date a number of people were seen running to waiting cars after leaving a boat as it moored at Slapton Sands in Devon.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) took the man into custody where he is being interviewed by officers.
NCA Branch Commander Matt Rivers said the arrest follows a “lengthy investigation”.
He continued: “While transporting people in a larger boat may appear safer, it remains extremely dangerous to be making any unauthorised journey in the Channel.
“People smugglers pay no regard to the lives of the people they are transporting.
“Tackling organised immigration crime is a key priority for the NCA and we work to target and disrupt organised crime groups involved at each step of the route.”
More than 40,000 people have crossed the Channel in small boats so far this year, according to Home Office figures.
Total crossings last year were 28,526, while in 2020 it was 8,404.
In the year to September 2022 the UK received more than 72,000 asylum applications, relating to almost 86,000 people. Small boat arrivals are roughly half of these.