A man who has been wanted in Belgium for his role in an attempt to use a boat to smuggle people across the channel to the United Kingdom has been arrested by the National Crime Agency in north London.

A 47-year-old British national named Isa Ertem was taken into custody by officers at an address in Winchmore Hill Road, Southgate.

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Prosecutors want Ertem in Bruges in connection with the attempted smuggling of eight people on a yacht on 1 August 2021.

The eight and the skipper of the vessel Rumrunner, which was going to be used for the crossing, were detained by the Belgian authorities at marina in the town of Nieuwpoort, near the French border.

As per the evidence collected by the Belgian Federal Police, Ertem’s vehicle was nearby at the time.

A Belgian investigating magistrate has issued an arrest warrant in January 2022, and Ertem will now appear before Westminster Magistrates, where extradition proceedings will commence.

Meanwhile, the NCA’s Head of Organised Immigration Crime Operations, Martin Grace, said, “The NCA continues to work closely with partners in France, Belgium and beyond to target the organised crime groups involved in cross-Channel people smuggling.

He further added, “We are clear that where we can identify there are UK links to this crime, we will take action. Organised immigration crime is exploitative and dangerous; we have seen the tragic consequences it can have. This is why it remains a priority for the NCA.”

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