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UK arrests 72 people on fishing boat in people-smuggling investigation

By Reuters 18 November 2020
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File photo: Fishing boat with illegal immigrants from North Africa arrives on the southern Italian island of Lampedusa
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LONDON, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Britain's National Crime Agency (NCA) said on Wednesday 72 people have been arrested after a fishing boat was intercepted off the eastern coast of England, prompting a people- smuggling investigation.

The agency, which focuses on fighting organised crime, intercepted a 30-metre boat off the coast of Great Yarmouth in East Anglia on Tuesday evening after it sailed from the Ostend area of Belgium.

The three crew members, a Latvian national and two Ukrainian nationals, were arrested on suspicion of facilitating illegal immigration. The other 69 people, all Albanian nationals, were arrested on suspicion of breaking immigration rules.

“This was clearly a significant incident and a significant attempt to breach the UK’s border controls,” said Craig Naylor, NCA Deputy Director of Investigations. “We are determined to do all we can to disrupt and dismantle people smuggling networks, and prevent them from exploiting migrants for profit.”

(Reporting by Andrew MacAskill; editing by Stephen Addison)

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