Police Break Up Gang Smuggling Iranians To UK

Police Break Up Gang Smuggling Iranians To UK

Police in Spain have broken up a smuggling ring bringing Iranians into Spain and then moving them onwards to Britain.

Six people have been arrested in Madrid and Fuengirola after a joint operation with British police, the interior ministry revealed.

The investigation began when a group of four Iranians, including a child, were detained in Bilbao airport heading to Britain with false Greek passports, El Mundo newspaper revealed.

It transpired the people smugglers were charging the Iranians between €10,000 (£7,500) and €15,000 (£11,200) per person for the service.

Over nine months, they inserted fake visas into genuine passports bringing 50 Iranians to Spain.

Once in Spain, they were put up in hotels in Madrid and supplied with fake passports, sent from Greece, France and Britain, so that they could then go on to the UK.

The would-be migrants were given a mobile phone each and their "handler" would use an untraceable one to ring through with instructions.

They were told not to talk to anyone outside the group and a member of the smuggling gang would brief them on what to say in case they were held by the authorities, and take them to the airport.

It is not clear how many actually arrived in Britain.

The sophisticated ring has been working for two years - it was divided into two sections: one for finance and the other for logistics.

Spanish police also found €10,000 euros in cash hidden in various suitcases, 47 fake passports and documents connected with the network and expensive vehicles. 

The arrests follow a joint operation between British and Spanish police.