RAIDS have been carried out on addresses in Sheffield as part of one of the biggest ever operations to crack down on people-smuggling.
Officers from the UK Border Agency swooped at dawn yesterday, targeting gangs who bring illegal immigrants into the country on lorries through Channel ports.
Stowaways can pay £2,000 to £6,000 per person to be smuggled into Britain, and many are believed to be from Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan.
The raids led to 20 arrests, while six other people were also detained for suspected immigration breaches.
The suspects included a 36-year-old Sheffield man arrested at a property in Leverton Gardens, Sharrow.
Raids were carried out and warrants executed in Manchester, London and Glasgow, as well as Sheffield, and 150 Border Agency officers were deployed in the operation.
Around 40 raids were carried out at the same time in France and Belgium.
Chris Foster, from the agency’s criminal investigation team, said: “We believe this to be one of the biggest operations of its kind ever undertaken in the UK, involving officers the length and breadth of the country.
“My officers have been working closely with their counterparts in France and Belgium as well as other law enforcement agencies.
“We believe we have successfully disrupted a significant organised network suspected of being involved in a systematic attempt to evade the UK’s immigration controls.
“Our investigation will continue with the evidence we have seized.”
Anyone with information about immigration crime should call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.