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21 arrested after raids target migrant smuggling gang

More than 350 officers have taken part in raids in London, Hastings, Sussex and on Teesside.

A total of 21 people were arrested during the raid.
A total of 21 people were arrested during the raid.

More than 350 officers have taken part in raids aiming to a smash a gang accused of smuggling hundreds of migrants into the UK.

Twenty-one people were arrested following the raids in London, Hastings, Sussex and on Teesside.

The gang are suspected of smuggling mainly Iraqi-Kurds into the country in the back of lorries.

The National Crime Agency said it was one of the biggest operations it had carried out since its inception five years ago - with links to police in France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Arrests were made on Teesside and in London, Sussex and Hastings.
Arrests were made on Teesside and in London, Sussex and Hastings.

Officers from the NCA believe the arrests have "disrupted a significant network" whose operations had been ongoing.

Migrants are believed to have paid up to £10,000 to get across the Channel from Northern Europe.

A 42-year-old from Middlesbrough was one of 16 people arrested by Cleveland Police.

Two people were detained in Sussex, two in London and one in the Northumbria area.

Senior Investigating Officer Mark Spoors: "The crime group have used complicit lorry drivers running from France into the UK."

The suspects have been arrested on suspicion of immigration and money laundering offences.

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