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Man charged with facilitating illegal entry into the UK after more migrants rescued in Lydd and Dungeness

By Molly Mileham-Chappell

An Iranian national has appeared in court accused of helping asylum seekers cross the Channel, after eight more migrants were rescued in the county off the coast this week.

Mohsen Mohamadi-Abd appeared by video link at Medway Magistrates Court today, charged with facilitating illegal entry to the UK.

The 36-year-old of Havelock Road, in Southall, London was remanded in custody and will next appear at Canterbury Crown Court on Wednesday, February 6.

Police and border force seen in Lydd on Monday afternoon. Credit: Kimberly Addy
Police and border force seen in Lydd on Monday afternoon. Credit: Kimberly Addy

The charge comes after a boat was found in Dungeness on Monday morning.

Border Force was alerted by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency at around 8.20am to an unattended rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB).

Officers attended to secure the vessel, where a search of the area helped located eight men.

Of the eight rescued, five were found on the beach at Dungeness and three in Lydd.

Mohamadi-Abd was the ninth individual found in the area, were he was arrested in connection with the migrant landings.

The men, who claimed to be from Iran, were passed to immigration officials and their cases are being dealt with in line with immigration rules.

Police and border force seen in Lydd on Monday afternoon. Credit: Kimberly Addy
Police and border force seen in Lydd on Monday afternoon. Credit: Kimberly Addy

Pictures sent to KentOnline show police and immigration officers attending to three of the suspected migrants in Harden Road in Lydd on Monday afternoon.

One of those found was taken to hospital for treatment while the other seven were in Border Force care.

A SECAmb spokesman said: "Paramedics were called to Dungeness at approximately 12.20pm on Monday following reports a number of people needed medical assessment having come off a boat.

"We attended the scene and one person was taken to hospital for further treatment.

"The incident was left in the hands of the police and Border Force."

The investigation remains ongoing.

Police and border force seen in Lydd on Monday afternoon. Credit: Kimberly Addy
Police and border force seen in Lydd on Monday afternoon. Credit: Kimberly Addy

Acting deputy director David Fairclough, from Immigration Enforcement’s Criminal and Financial Investigation (CFI) who are leading the investigation, said: "We work closely with all partners in the UK and overseas to identify and dismantle the organised crime groups that facilitate illegal immigration.

"Since April 2018, Immigration Enforcement officers have disrupted 46 organised crime groups involved in people smuggling."

Royal Navy ship HMS Mersey was circling several miles from the shore between Folkestone and Dungeness during Monday morning, according to marinetraffic.com.

It is the latest in a string of migrant landings in the county since November, including hundreds of men, women and children.

Around 200 suspected migrants were found crossing the Channel over the Christmas period.

Ward councillor for Walland and Denge Marsh, Clive Goddard, encouraged residents to speak up if they see something unusual: "The big message I would like to get out is that our residents play a big part and I would like to stress that if anyone sees a boat which they believe may be carrying migrants or any other related activity then they should not hesitate in calling 999.

"They will be transferred to Border Force who can then act quickly on this information."

It is mainly people identifying as Iranian that have been picked up from boats in the Straits of Dover and off the coasts of Folkestone in recent weeks.

On New Year's Eve, Border Force intercepted 12 suspected migrants, including a 10-year-old boy, on the coast of Greatstone.

The group, also consisting of two women, also presented themselves as Iranian nationals after being detained in Coast Drive.

A boat on the shore at Greatstone. Picture: Susan Pilcher
A boat on the shore at Greatstone. Picture: Susan Pilcher

Two other men, a 33-year-old Iranian and 24-year-old Briton, were also arrested in Manchester last week on suspicion of helping migrants cross the Channel the National Crime Agency (NCA) said and the investigation continues.

Last week, the Home Secretary Sajid Javid came under fire after appearing to suggest many of those seeking to get to the UK from France were not genuine asylum seekers, after he declared the situation a 'major crisis' at the end of 2018.

Anyone with information about suspected immigration abuse can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 anonymously or visit the Crimestoppers website.

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