People smuggling arrests made after yacht ran aground

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Image source, South West ROCU
Image caption,
The yacht ran aground off the south Devon coast

A yacht thought to be involved in a people smuggling operation ran aground off the coast of south Devon.

Police said eight migrants were on board the yacht which was stranded off Horse Cove near Teignmouth, on Monday.

The nationality of the migrants, seven men and a woman, has not been confirmed.

A man and a woman from Devon were arrested at the scene and another man was arrested at his home in Essex - all on suspicion of people smuggling.

Police said the migrants, aged between 20 and 40 years old, were at a centre set up by Devon and Cornwall Police.

Ch Supt Nikki Leaper, from Devon and Cornwall Police, said two of the boat's passengers were initially taken to Torbay Hospital as a precaution.

She said: "The individuals' welfare is our priority and they are being accommodated, fed, and any additional support is being offered."

'Monitored'

The 27ft (8.2m) yacht was recovered to Teignmouth Harbour on Tuesday.

Steve Whitton, head of Border Force Maritime Command, said the yacht was monitored as it made its way towards the UK.

He said: "This ensured that officers from Border Force and the police were in the right place at the right time to move in quickly to secure arrests."

The man and woman from Devon arrested at the scene remain in police custody. The second man has been released under investigation.

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