North East Officers In Raids To Disrupt Suspected People-Smugglers
6 February 2018, 10:03 | Updated: 6 February 2018, 10:10
Officers from Cleveland and Northumbria Police have carried out raids - as part of a huge operation against suspected people-smuggling.
The National Crime Agency says it 350 officers helped execute raids across the country - to tackle a suspected people smuggling network involving suspected Kurdish gangsters.
They targeted around 20 addresses and visited car washes to monitor activity following a year-long investigation with links to the French, Belgian and Dutch authorities.
Officers from Immigration Enforcement, HMRC and the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority were carrying out spot inspections of car washes.
A suspect was arrested at a house in Middlesbrough during the operation.
Officers at a briefing at Cleveland Police's HQ in Middlesbrough were told they were looking to arrest two specific men around Teesside suspected of being involved in bringing migrants into the UK in lorries for money.
The gang is suspected of charging up to £10,000 per head to smuggle migrants across the Channel.
The authorities' car wash inquiries were aimed at disrupting the gang's alleged money laundering operation.