On Monday (22nd February) North Wales Police worked with colleagues from UK Border Force to conduct searches at Holyhead port and raise awareness of Organised Immigration Crime as part of a national campaign.
The ‘Say No to People Smuggling’ campaign was recently launched by Crimestoppers in partnership with UK Government. It is a response to Operation Melrose, which sought justice for the 39 migrants who died in a refrigerated lorry in 2019. This campaign aims to raise awareness of the dangers of people smuggling to prevent another tragedy from occurring.
In the last year, 59 individuals have been convicted for smuggling offences and handed over 142 years in prison time.
Detective Sergeant Richard Sidney, from the Exploitation Unit, said: “Haulage drivers are often approached by people smugglers who frequently sell migrants into modern slavery. Desperate and vulnerable people wanting to enter the UK are being exploited by criminals who knowingly transport them, dangerously and illegally for cash.
“We are supporting the ‘Say no to people smuggling’ campaign here in North Wales and encourage haulage drivers and members of the public to learn the signs of people smuggling. From noticing suspicious activity around trailers, to seeing false documentation, you can learn what to watch out for. If you’d prefer not to speak to police, you have the option of sending information completely anonymously to us through Crimestoppers.”
Police and border force colleagues, assisted by search dogs and handlers spoke to and searched vehicles travelling through Holyhead port. Fortunately, none of the lorries searched gave any reason for concern on this occasion and drivers were happy to receive information about what signs to look out for as well as learning the consequences of smuggling.
As well as haulage drivers, the campaign also aims to educate the general public too. Posters are being displayed at key locations and leaflets are being distributed that contain information on how to spot smuggling.
If you notice any suspicious activity or think someone you know might be involved in people smuggling, you can give information to police by calling 999 in an emergency, 101 for non-emergencies or through our website. Alternatively you can give information anonymously through Crimestoppers.