Suspected illegal immigrants arrested on boat off East Anglia coast

Image source, National Crime Agency
Image caption,
The vessel containing suspected illegal immigrants was intercepted by officials off Great Yarmouth

Sixty-nine suspected illegal immigrants and three crew members have been arrested after a fishing boat was intercepted off the coast of East Anglia, says the National Crime Agency.

It has launched a people smuggling investigation after Border Force officials intercepted the vessel off Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.

The agency said the 30m (98ft) boat had sailed from near Ostend, Belgium.

British officials accompanied the boat into Harwich harbour on Wednesday.

The three crew members, a Latvian national and two Ukrainian nationals, were arrested on suspicion of facilitating illegal immigration.

Image caption,
The fishing boat containing 69 suspected illegal immigrants from Albania was intercepted by officials on Wednesday morning

The 69 passengers, thought to be Albanian nationals, were arrested on suspicion of offences under the Immigration Act and will be dealt with by immigration enforcement officers, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said.

"This was clearly a significant incident and a significant attempt to breach the UK's border controls," said Craig Naylor of the NCA.

"Working with our partners we are determined to do all we can to disrupt and dismantle people smuggling networks, and prevent them from exploiting migrants for profit," he said.

A search of the boat is ongoing.

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