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Briton held at UK marina in Spanish murder investigation

Published 25/05/2016

The 55-year-old suspect was held at Chichester Marina in West Sussex
The 55-year-old suspect was held at Chichester Marina in West Sussex

A British man wanted on suspicion of murder has been arrested along with 17 suspected Albanian migrants at a South Coast marina.

The 55-year-old, who was being sought over a killing in Spain, was held with the Albanians at Chichester Marina in West Sussex.

Spanish authorities had issued a European Arrest Warrant for the Briton who is now in custody pending interview by immigration enforcement investigators.

He was detained on Tuesday morning on suspicion of facilitating illegal immigration, while the 17 Albanian men were held on suspicion of entering the UK illegally.

The Albanians have been detained pending Home Office consideration of their cases.

A Home Office spokesman said: "The security of our border is paramount.

"We work with our partners to detect and deter people who attempt to reach the UK illegally, while targeting the criminal gangs behind illegal entry attempts."

A locked facility with more than 1,000 berths, Chichester Marina is set in beautiful scenery and has a "marked air of peace and tranquillity", according to its website.

The discovery comes a month after the National Crime Agency (NCA) revealed that migrants trying to reach the UK are paying smuggling gangs up to £13,500 for their journey.

Some of those intent on coming to Britain are quoted five-figure sums to make the trip by air, while others are believed to have spent as much as £12,000 to travel from France in inflatable boats.

Investigators suspect that, as well as the main Channel crossing between Calais and Dover, criminals may be using less busy ports in the UK, including Tilbury, Purfleet, Hull, Immingham and Newhaven.

The desperation of some migrants to reach Britain was highlighted last month when two Iranian men were found floating in an ill-equipped dinghy in the English Channel.

A light on their mobile phone alerted a passing ship in the Dover Strait - one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world - before they were picked up.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: "The arrests were made by Sussex Police after Hampshire Police alerted us about the yacht arriving at the marina.

"The case is now being investigated by the Home Office Immigration Enforcement."

A spokeswoman for Premier Marinas said the incident unfolded on Monday night when one person was on duty at the lock. The vessel is believed to be an eight-metre-long catamaran.

She said the vessel does not have a permanent berth at the marina, which operates 24/7.

"We weren't made aware of what was going to take place," she said.

"Once the police came in, they took over the incident. The boat was a visitor. It is not a permanent berther and I believe (the man) comes on a short-term basis.

"He is not a person we know or a boat that we are particularly familiar with."

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