PORTSMOUTH has been named as a ‘smuggling hotspot’ by a European crime-fighting agency.
It is on a 13-strong list drawn up by Europol of areas people smugglers are using to bring migrants into the country,
Rob Wainwright, head of Europol said Britain has finite resources and has to choose where to defend its borders.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Mr Wainwright said: ‘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.
‘When you are in the business of targeting your resources where intelligence takes you, then sometimes one or two things will slip through because you are looking elsewhere, for good reason.’
Mr Wainwright’s comments come just days after a leaked National Crime Agency document revealed fears drug traffickers, people smugglers and organised crime groups were using small unpoliced marinas.
The coastline here is guarded by Hampshire police’s marine unit, which recently found 17 Albanian migrants at Chichester Harbour.
A British man was also arrested on suspicion of murder.
And 28 migrants were found in a lorry travelling through Portsmouth from France last month, prompting calls for tighter security at Portsmouth International Port from Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond.
Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has said the area is lucky to have tight security in the area, including navy, police, and volunteers at Coastwatch bases in Fort Blockhouse, Gosport, and in Lee-on-the-Solent.
Asked about the NCA report Ms Dinenage said: ‘We’re very luckily in this part of the world, I’ve been out with the police marine unit.
‘They do a fantastic job keeping us safe.
‘Because we’ve always had an area that’s had security considerations we’ve always had to be mindful of it.’
Ms Dinenage added: ‘We’re very fortunate but of course it’s something that we do have to be mindful about.’