Leading councillor urges vigilance over Portsmouth people smuggling concerns

Councillor Luke Stubbs
Councillor Luke Stubbs

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THE deputy leader of Portsmouth City Council says the government must remain ‘vigilant’ over illegal immigration amid claims Portsmouth’s port is being used as a trafficking route.

Investigators for the NCA - the UK’s equivalent to the FBI - suspect that, as well as the main Channel crossing between Calais and Kent, criminal networks are now starting to target quieter ports on the east and south coasts in addition to the hotspot at Kent.

Councillor Luke Stubbs is confident security at Portsmouth International Port is tight, but says the government and the local authority can’t get complacent and remain on alert concerning organised immigration crime.

Cllr Stubbs said: ‘The French government does make an effort to prevent illegal immigration into the UK, and the border patrols at the port appear to be working generally well.

‘But the government and the Home Office does need to remain vigilant, and the council will work with them in any way they want to prevent illegal movements in this country.’

Intelligence suggests that some migrants have paid up to £12,000 for transport from Dunkirk to the UK in Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boats, the NCA said.

The criminal networks are seen as adaptable, quickly changing their methods in response to law enforcement action or increased security.