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Police and the UK Border Agency have raided a scrap metal yard in Dartford
12 people have been arrested following a swoop on the yard known as A2 Car Breakers in Watling Street, yesterday (Tuesday 15 June).
They were supported by Kent Trading Standards, Dartford Borough Council and a police helicopter.
The strike followed months of work, which suggested that stolen cars were being taken to the site. Many of the workers were also suspected of being illegally in the country.
Because of the location of the site, which is bordered by Watling Street and the A2, a temporary road speed restriction was used on the coastbound carriageway of the A2 to ensure the safety of anyone trying to escape across the road.
Sgt Tim Ryton, from North Kent's Tactical Team led the initiative. He said: "Our information was that stolen cars were being taken to this site and that those working there were in the country illegally.
"Despite this being a large site, with around 2,000 vehicles, we were quickly able to contain it and prevent those there from leaving. Working together with officers from the UK Borders Agency we were able arrest 12 men on suspicion of being illegal immigrants. The men, who claimed to be of Nigerian origin, are now in the hands of the UK Borders Agency.
"We have now started the process of a thorough search of the site to find any cars or equipment we suspect of being stolen."
Karyn Dunning, who heads up the UK Border Agency Kent Local Immigration Team said: "This is an excellent example of joint working with Kent Police and other agencies. It is a criminal offence to be in the UK through deception or failing to abide by the conditions of stay. From today's operation we have been able to arrest 12 men who are in the UK illegally and we will now work towards removing them as soon as possible."
Anyone with information relating to immigration offences can contact Kent Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.