800 cross Channel in small boats since operation to smash smuggling ring

At least 800 people have crossed the English Channel in small boats in the five days since authorities carried out an international operation to smash a people-smuggling ring, GB News can reveal

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Around 350 people have been taken off nine small boats attempting to make the crossing today.

Last Wednesday, the UK’s National Crime Agency announced that 39 people had been arrested as part of a multi-national investigation into cross-Channel people smuggling, and the supply of small boats.

Those arrested were suspected of involvement in a criminal network which had allegedly smuggled around 10,000 people into the UK.

Six people were arrested by National Crime Agency officers and police in the UK.

Small boats in Dover Harbour today
Small boats in Dover Harbour today
Border Force officials in Kent
Border Force officials in Kent

Arrests were also made in France, Germany and the Netherlands, as 50 seperate locations were raided.

In total, the operation seized 135 small boats, 45 outboard motors and 1,200 life jackets.

Authorities allege the gang had obtained the specially manufactured small boats in Turkey, before taking them to Europe and storing them around Germany.

The National Crime Agency said the dismantling of this particular people smuggling network would likely have a short term impact on small boat crossings, as criminal gangs struggled to source new boats.

However, GB News’s Kent producer said sources in France had told him that the people smuggling gangs had “managed to hide a number of small boats in the countryside” close to to the beaches of north western France, regularly used to launch the small boats.

A number of small boats that crossed the English Channel today were of the same design as those seized by law enforcement during their international operation last week.