Six people have been arrested after joint work between the National Crime Agency and French authorities led to the dismantling of a people smuggling network storing boats in northern France.
Four boats and motors, as well as 133 lifejackets, were seized from a lock up garage during the arrests on 18 and 20 October.
French police found that between 29 July and the arrests, the six men had visited the garage 20 times. During the period they had taken the deliveries of the boats, which would have been used to transport people across the Channel to the UK.
The arrested men, from Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan and France, will now stand trial in the French courts in February 2023.
The NCA works closely with French police in a Joint Intelligence Cell, with NCA officers on the ground in France exchanging intelligence and working to build investigations into suspected small boat people smugglers.
NCA Deputy Director Andrea Wilson said:
“These arrests and the significant seizure of boats and lifejackets are a result of the close partnership working between the NCA and our partners in France.
“Seizing these items means they will not be utilised by criminal gangs sending people on these dangerous Channel crossings.
“Using our international networks and partnerships, the NCA will continue to target people smuggling gangs across borders in our fight against those involved in organised immigration crime.”