Chichester named as one of Britain's '˜migrant smuggling hotspots'

Chichester has been named as one of Britain's '˜border weakspots' where hundreds of migrants are being smuggled into the country.

Chichester Marina, where 17 suspected illegal immigrants were arrested with a British man on May 23
Chichester Marina, where 17 suspected illegal immigrants were arrested with a British man on May 23

Chichester and Portsmouth are two of the 13 ‘migrant smuggling hotspots’ being targeted by criminal gangs, according to Europol, the European police agency.

The news follows the arrest of 17 Albanian migrants aboard a catamaran at Chichester Marina last week, along with a British man who has been charged with facilitating illegal entry into the UK.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

People smugglers are said to be increasingly targeting smaller harbours like Chichester’s because they are not protected by border officials.

Rob Wainwright, the head of Europol, told the Daily Telegraph: “I think, as I’m sure the UK Border Force understands, it has to plug all gaps in the border and this is an example of how difficult it is sometimes to get the balance right.

“They’ve got finite resources like any other public-sector organisation.

“They have to make tactical decisions on a daily basis about where they target their resources.

“Normally those would be on the major port areas for obvious reasons and because of that, normally they are very successful by standards of other European countries in apprehending most illegal attempts to get into the country.”

Gangs are reportedly charging desperate migrants upwards of £10,000 to cross the Channel and enter Britain.

As well as Chichester and Portsmouth, other ports which Europol has named as ‘hotspots’ for migrant smuggling include Newhaven in East Sussex, Whistable in Kent, Hull, Immingham in North East Lincolnshire, Tilbury and Purfleet in Essex.

The Home Office does not comment on the measures taken to protect individual ports or airports.

However, if intelligence suggests that there will be an increase in the numbers of migrants attempting to enter via certain ports it will consider deploying additional officers to carry out more searches in those locations.

Get your Chichester Observer newspaper for just 38p per week for a year!

Your Chichester Observer newspaper costs £1.05 each week - BUT if you buy a year’s subscription before June 4, 2016, you can enjoy a massive saving which works out at just 38p an edition.

Subscribe and read your favourite weekly, the Chichester, or Bognor Regis, or Midhurst & Petworth Observer, for 12 months for a one off advance payment of £19.76 - that works out at just 38p a copy for an entire year!

And as a valued subscriber you’ll continue to receive a 20% discount even after the initial 12 month offer has ended.

Once you’ve subscribed we’ll send you dated coupons to use instead of cash when paying for your Observer.

To take advantage of this fantastic offer simply click here and enter the offer code - 277PA-CCO.

Hurry though as offer ends on June 4, 2016.

Terms & Conditions: Offer valid to new customers only when paying by a one off direct debit charge of £19.76. Minimum 12 months subscription. Offer ends Saturday 4th June 2016. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.