England

Eight men charged with Albanian people smuggling plot

Boat in the sea Image copyright Home Office
Image caption A rigid-hulled inflatable boat broke down and started taking on water with 18 Albanians on board

Eight men have been charged in relation to a people smuggling plot which brought Albanians into the UK in small boats.

It follows an investigation into an abandoned rigid hulled inflatable boat found on a Kent beach in May 2016.

A group of 18 Albanians were rescued from another similar boat which was taking on water 18 days later.

Two British skippers, Mark Stribling and Robert Stilwell, were arrested and later jailed for more than four years.

The eight men have been charged by the National Crime Agency (NCA) with conspiring to facilitate illegal migration and are alleged to have been connected to both incidents.

They are due to appear at Medway Magistrates' Court on 18 July.

Brendan Foreman, the NCA's regional head of investigations, said it had been a "complex investigation for more than a year".

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