Eight arrested in Devon after migrants allegedly smuggled into UK on board 30ft yacht

It is alleged migrants were brought across the Channel from France on a 30ft yacht called Timberwolf. Credit: NCA

Eight people have been arrested for an alleged attempted migrant boat crossing operation. 

Investigators from the National Crime Agency (NCA) say they believe an organised crime group brought migrants across the Channel from France on a 30ft yacht called Timberwolf.

The NCA says the yacht was seen moored just off Mothecombe Beach on 4 July.

It is alleged migrants were transported to shore in a dinghy and were picked up in a black Mercedes 180.

The yacht was then stopped by Border Force officers as it was sailing onto Plymouth.

Six men aged between 28 and 41 were arrested by Devon and Cornwall Police on suspicion of facilitation of illegal migration in the vehicle that was seen leaving the beach area.

A 24-year-old man from Putney and the boat’s captain, a 58-year-old man from Devon, were also arrested on suspicion of facilitation of illegal migration.

The men have all been questioned by NCA officers and released on bail.

The NCA says it would like to speak to anyone who was at the beach between the hours of 9am and 1pm on 4 July and witnessed anything suspicious. They are also seeking any images or footage taken on mobile phones.

NCA Branch Commander Matt Rivers said: “Tackling people smuggling is a priority for the National Crime Agency.

“An organised crime group will have been behind this smuggling attempt. Criminals do not care about those they transport – they will be exploiting them for profit.

“Our investigation into this group continues, but we would also like to hear from any witnesses who were at the beach at the time of this incident.”

Anyone with information or images should email communication@nca.gov.uk or call 0370 496 7622 quoting ‘1418791’.

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