Dawn raids on suspected people trafficking gang

Investigators have smashed an organised crime gang smuggling hundreds of illegal immigrants a year into the UK.

Twenty-one suspects were arrested in a wave of early morning raids across Cleveland in the North East, London and East Sussex.

The gang is believed to have charged immigrants up to 10,000 euros to be hidden in trucks and brought across the English Channel.

Most of the trafficked immigrants are Iraqi Kurds, mostly men but some families have also been brought into Britain.

Among those arrested were two men suspected of being organisers of the gang, which has been operating in France, Belgium and Holland.

More than 350 police officers were involved in the raids co-ordinated by the National Crime Agency after a year-long investigation.

More from UK

Investigators were also raiding car wash premises thought to have been used for laundering cash from the smuggling operation.

More follows…