More than 560 immigrants arrested

MORE than 560 illegal immigrants were arrested by Felixstowe's UK Border Agency officers last year, it was revealed today.

MORE than 560 illegal immigrants were arrested by Felixstowe's UK Border Agency officers last year, it was revealed today.

Raids on 168 business and residential properties by immigration officials netted a total of 565 illegals in Suffolk and north Essex.

Nationally, the number of illegals arrested rose by more than 50 per cent year-on-year.

A spokesman for the UKBA in Felixstowe said its officers swooped on 50 businesses and 42 private addresses in Suffolk in 2008.

In their battle to protect UK borders and enforce immigration law, officials have also fined employers caught using illegal immigrants.

Fines for companies and other businesses in the Suffolk and north Essex area between March and December last year amounted to �461,250.

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Thirty-seven raids were carried out in Ipswich in 2008 by UKBA officers, while Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft had 13 and 12 enforcement visits respectively.

According to the latest Home Office figures, 61 stowaways were handed over by police to UKBA officers in Felixstowe between January and November last year after being discovered in lorries while attempting to enter the country illegally.

Home secretary Jacqui Smith revealed that from August 2005 to November 2008 the total number of stowaways handed over to the UKBA at the docks was 117.

A UKBA spokesman said: “Britain now has one of the toughest borders in the world and we will not tolerate anyone who seeks to abuse the system.

“State-of-the-art technology such as carbon dioxide and heartbeat detectors and moving our border controls to France means we can turn people away before they even step foot on British soil. By the end of last year we had detected 28,007 attempts to enter the UK illegally - 56 per cent more than the previous year.

“The key to shutting down illegal immigration is to shut down illegal jobs. That's why employers who don't play by the rules face tough new fines and could lose the right to recruit staff from outside Europe.

“Since we introduced this tough new civil penalties' regime last year we have issued over 1,000 fines worth more than �10 million.”

Anyone who suspects illegal workers are being employed at a business should contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 in confidence.

Should more be done to prevent illegal immigrants entering the UK? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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