Following reports in the local and national press of a people smuggling ring operating in the Helford River, a local Police Community Support Officer described the reports as “blown out of proportion”.
When speaking to a Falmouth Packet reporter, PCSO Chris Braddon said he had recently wrote to boat owners in the Helford area following reports of “suspicious persons” of possible “foreign descent” arriving at off times, but said people are reading far more into it than they should.
He said: “We had a report of suspicious behaviour, and unfortunately we didn’t get to hear about it at the time. We had some information which may or may not have been linked to immigration. We circulated the information to people in the marine community to make them aware”.
“Yes, there’s potential wherever you live along the coastline, but that’s all there is to it.” Commented PCSO Braddon
In a letter to local boat owners, he wrote: “I wish to make you aware of some suspicious behaviour we have had reported to us in the Helford area over the past week. This is where a small boat has come ashore at unusual hours with a number of suspicious persons aboard believed to be of a foreign descent. There is evidence nationally to suggest that people smugglers are increasingly looking to use small boats to ferry illegal immigrants across the channel and this could be a suggestion they are landing in our area”.
In 2010 a gang of Albanians were arrested in Staffordshire and charged with stealing “high end” outboard motors from the Helford River. There was a suggestion that they were combining their burglarious activities with that of landing illegal immigrants, although it must be stressed, no evidence of this was ever forthcoming.
If you see unusual or suspicious activity, report it to your local police on 101, or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, and quote “KRAKEN”.