Hampshire raids in crackdown on people smuggling gangs

Hampshire raids in crackdown on people smuggling gangs

Hampshire raids in crackdown on people smuggling gangs

Updated on in

Immigration officers carried out raids in Hampshire today as part of a European wide crackdown on people smuggling gangs.

Dozens of raids were carried out across the UK and in France and Belgium today in a crackdown on people-smuggling gangs.

Officers from the UK Border Agency (UKBA) raided 35 addresses in England and Scotland, including at least one understood to be in Fareham, targeting gangs who bring illegal immigrants into the country in the back of lorries through Channel ports.

Around another 40 raids were carried out at the same time in France and Belgium as part of the same operation.

The stowaways pay from £2,000 to £6,000 per person to be smuggled into Britain.

Raids were carried out in London, Hampshire, Peterborough, Birmingham, Coventry, Smethwick, Leamington Spa, and Stoke-on-Trent.

Warrants were also executed in Manchester, Sheffield, Lancashire and Glasgow.

More than 150 officers from the UKBA took part in the operation, which included addresses in Fareham and Portsmouth.

It is understood many of the immigrants who pay the gangs are from Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan.

So far, officers have made 20 arrests in relation to their investigation and another six in relation to other suspected offences including immigration breaches.

Chris Foster from UKBA said: ''We believe this to be one of the biggest operations of its kind ever undertaken in the UK, involving officers the length and breadth of the country.

''My officers have been working closely with their counterparts in France and Belgium as well as other law enforcement agencies in the UK in the build-up to today's operation.

''We believe we have successfully disrupted a significant organised network suspected of being involved in a systematic attempt to evade the UK's immigration controls.

''Our investigation will continue with the evidence we have seized today.''

Immigration Minister, Mark Harper, said: ''The organised criminal gangs involved in people-smuggling prey on the desperation of others in order to line their own pockets. They are also a major factor involved in illegal immigration to the UK.''

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7:20pm Wed 6 Feb 13 mickey01 says…

talk about closing the stable door !

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8:13pm Wed 6 Feb 13 J.P.M says…

Too many horses in the stable already

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10:39pm Wed 6 Feb 13 MiddleOfRoad says…

This well overdue and needs to be an ongoing tougher strategy than the present apeasement politically correct approach. We must remember that illegal immigrants are just that - illegal. They break UK laws and probably a host of other nations' laws to enter the UK to access its generous benefits systems, to access its 1st world medical facilities and prey upon the soft approach we Brits display to illegal immigrants. Illegal immigrants merely take up the spots that the UK and other 1st world nations allocate, under UN conventions, for genuine refugees or assylum seekers. In short they are queue jumpers and economic immigrants; they are certainly not genuine deserving refugees or assylum seekers. People smugglers are criminals in the game just to make money. Many people smugglers have probably been previously provided with a privileged opportunity to enter the UK from overseas and now returning this favour by engaging in border control crime. Time for common sense and rationality to enter the fray. No more accepting from detected illegal immigrants "I claim assylum" usually followed by a **** and bull story that is fictitious and difficult , if not impossible, to check. Detain them until the earliest flight can be arranged to return them from whence they came. The message will soon get around the illegal immigrant nations and groups. People smugglers if convicted, need to be banged up for long periods of HMP quality time. Strip British Citizenship from overseas born people smugglers and deport them upon the conclusion of their sentences. And of course any people smugglers who are themselves illegal immigrants should be deported upon conclusion of their sentences. The tough message will soon get around all the releveant communities in the UK and overseas and watch the illegal immigrant trade dry up. Australia had similar immigration problems and developed a tough stance and the trade dried up to almost nothing. However, when Oz had a change of Govt, with a politically correct soft approach, the word went around and the "almost nothing" of the previous Govt changed, almost overnight, into a flood of illegal immigration costing billions of pounds. Simple message is that tough minimises, soft maximises. I am certain that the vast majority of the UK populace agree with my sentiments. Equally I am sure that the left wing apologists and fringe dwellers will see this stance as heresy and will no doubt froth at the mouth at such common sense suggestions.

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