Kent

Channel migrants: Four held after woman's body discovered

Migrants in an inflatable dinghy Image copyright AFP/Marine Nationale
Image caption French authorities released this photo of migrants intercepted by coastguards in August

Four men have been arrested in a people smuggling inquiry after a migrant died while crossing the English Channel.

The Iranian woman fell into the water from an inflatable boat on 9 August, 15 miles from Ramsgate, Kent. Her body was later recovered off the Dutch coast.

The National Crime Agency and French police made the arrests as part of an inquiry into Channel crossings.

One of the men arrested was in the same boat as the woman who died in August, the NCA said.

The 31-year-old Iranian national was arrested on suspicion of facilitating illegal immigration by NCA officers in Coventry in September. He was questioned and released under investigation.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Iranian woman went overboard from a boat carrying 20 migrants

Three other men, aged 25, 44, and 28 were arrested in France on Monday and are being questioned. The investigation in France is being led by the Prosecution Office of the Court of Boulogne-sur-Mer.

The NCA also interviewed under caution two men, both Iranian nationals, in Liverpool and Lancashire.

Steve Reynolds, head of organised immigration crime operations for the NCA, said: "The dangers posed by these types of attempts to reach the UK illegally were tragically highlighted by what happened in this case."

Mr Reynolds said "organised crime groups" were involved in many crossings.

"These groups don't care about the dangers of these journeys, and are quite happy to pray on the desperation of migrants and put them in terrible danger," he said.

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