Four men held after woman drowns attempting to cross The Channel

8 October 2019, 16:24

Picture released by Marine National in August
Picture released by Marine National in August. Picture: Marine National

By Maddie Goodfellow

French police are holding four men after a woman drowned attempting to travel to the UK in an inflatable boat.

The Iranian national died after after falling from her dinghy around 25 miles from the coast at Ramsgate on 9 August.

Her body was later recovered in the Netherlands.

Three men, aged 25, 28 and 44 have now been arrested in France as part of a joint investigation with the National Crime Agency.

The NCA had already arrested a 31-year-old Iranian man in Coventry on September 20, and interviewed two other suspects under caution 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.

"Our investigation into the people behind this smuggling attempt continues, and I would ask anyone with information which might aid that investigation to come forward to us or via Crimestoppers.

"While we know some of these attempts have been self-facilitated, it is also clear that organised crime groups have been involved in many of them.

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

"The NCA is working closely with law enforcement partners in the UK and France to disrupt these networks, protect the security of the UK border and prevent loss of life."