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Gangs shipping migrants onto Devon and Cornwall coast with luxury yachts

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: February 06, 2013

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Organised gangsters are bribing owners of luxury yachts to carry illegal immigrants from the continent to the Westcountry, it has been alleged.

Albanians desperate to reach the UK are paying to cross the channel from Brittany to the southern coast of South West England, landing in smaller ports unguarded by border agency staff.

Investigators in the Brittany capital Rennes have begun probing what they believe may be a highly organised network of criminals who are using ports on the north coast of Brittany as a jumping off point. Controls there are less frequent than those at Calais, Boulogne and Dunkirk.

It has emerged that 15 Albanian migrants without papers were found huddled in the cabin of a £100,000 yacht, on January 12, by Customs officers from Cherbourg. They were carrying out a routine check on a yacht, based in Brittany, which was heading north across the Channel towards the Westcountry.

Under questioning, the migrants said that they had each paid 1,000 euros to reach the UK. The two skippers, who are both from Brittany, revealed to a judge that they had been propositioned by a Kosovo man, who offered them large sums to smuggle migrants to Britain.

"In 2012 they transited 30 foreigners without papers on two yachts, making five trips to the UK," said a French source. All of the migrants boarded yachts at ports in northern Brittany and were landed in the Westcountry, the source said.

The two Frenchmen have been remanded in custody pending their trial. Using luxury yachts to ferry migrants to the UK from France is a new form of criminal activity believed to be controlled by ruthless gangs from Kosovo and Albania who specialise in people smuggling, drugs and prostitution.

Afghan and Iraqi smugglers based at the northern French Channel ports attempt to open doors of lorry trailers at motorway rest areas allowing migrants to sneak into the UK on ferries.

Investigators believe that Albanian criminal gangs are attempting to take over the lucrative business of people-smuggling that has been going on from Calais, France's busiest cross-Channel port. In December in Calais there were violent clashes between Afghans, Egyptians and Albanians.

Concerns have been expressed that changes to the way the British Border Agency operates, concentrating on airports and other major ports of entry, has left more remote parts of the country, like the far South West, more vulnerable to targeting by illegal immigrants.

Last night no one from the Border Agency was available for comment.

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67 comments

  • Pingu007  |  February 12 2013, 4:59AM

    Ha! If you're worried now, then just wait until next January when 30 million Bulgarians and Romanians will be able to enter the UK perfectly legally.

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  • Nevman  |  February 10 2013, 7:02AM

    Funny thing about xenophobes: scratch the surface and you find that they don't just hate foreigners. They hate everyone who doesn't bow down and agree with everything they say. No wonder they're so obsessed with dictators.

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  • Molochius  |  February 08 2013, 7:48PM

    I also note you completely ignore the Tories years in power from the 80s your so busy ranting about labor.....you talk about destroying community's? thatcher wrote the book on it mate!

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  • Molochius  |  February 08 2013, 7:42PM

    notolisbon that's good because I have a deep hatred for vile xenophobic prejudiced scum who seem intent on dragging the country backwards 100 years socially while claiming its for the good of the nation. I'm no fan of labor etc but im even less of a fan of those who support the politics of hate! Oh and your glorious leader? mr farage? doesnt look like hes any different from any other politician when you see clips like this http://tinyurl.com/cf9swv4 Look at the fool bumbling through this interview trying to explain how his parties corruption is somehow ok when he spends 3/4 of the time trying to win ground by bringing up the corruption of others. The mans a buffon and his partys a joke.

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  • notolisbon  |  February 08 2013, 7:13PM

    @cassiebiker Sorry, but these people have destroyed Britain - they did it deliberately. Brown screwed our pensions, ran up massive debt in PFIs, and exchanged our gold reserves for euros - he wanted this country poor and on its knees. Blair set out to rub our noses in multiculturalism endangering the safety and wellbeing of the British people. Their Fabian masters have deliberately set out to dismantle our communities with their PC ****. How many children had their fingerprints and DNA put on databases and how many willing foster parents deprived of the chance to give homes to children but couldn't because they belonged to the wrong political party. That's how it all works - destroy and rebuild in their glorious vision - the Fabian Window, the "wolf in sheep's clothing" and "hammering the world" into its chosen vision. There'll be no "burying the hatchet", this is beyond politics, I now have a deep loathing for these people who would treat our own people like vermin. This from a working class person who was born on the bottom rung of the ladder and knew real poverty - even carried the Labour banner on marches at one time. You close your eyes and "bury the hatchet" - I can't.

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  • Molochius  |  February 08 2013, 3:31PM

    These people are defending a media organisation which is based in a country where being gay is a crime and people.get locked Up for protesting as in the ongoing case with ***** riot etc. I shouldn't be Suprised these are the kind of values of many who support parties like the Ukip and other far right partys.

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  • Nevman  |  February 08 2013, 2:44PM

    "EU troll" - love it. Feel the paranoia! Sorry, but I prefer evil democracy to lovely dictatorship, and I'd sooner believe the poor old BBC than Putin News. But then I get my news from a variety of sources, not just the ones that feed my prejudices. Sometimes I even look at the Fail. I notice that neither of you seem to be very keen on Al-Jazeera as an alternative source of international perspectives. Any particular reason?

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  • cassiebiker  |  February 08 2013, 12:55PM

    by notolisbon Firstly, I think you and Nev should bury the hatchet...We are all in this together now. I'd rather watch RT than the BBC who are now just puppets of the EU. The biggest story of the day and nothing is this rag either. I hate to sound alarmist but I do feel that things are about to get very messy indeed. http://tinyurl.com/ardul8u

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  • notolisbon  |  February 08 2013, 11:56AM

    @cassiebiker Nice link - Russia Today seem to be the defenders of democracy these days. Who'd have thunk it! You don't think Nevman is an EU troll, do you. He does seem to want to subjugate the British people to his ideological regime.

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  • cassiebiker  |  February 08 2013, 11:11AM
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