NCA says port workers may be vulnerable to OCGs exploiting coronavirus (COVID-19)

NCA says port workers may be vulnerable to OCGs exploiting coronavirus (COVID-19)

The National Crime Agency (NCA) has issued an alert to furloughed port and airport workers who have detailed knowledge of border controls and processes may be vulnerable to organised crime groups (OCG) exploiting the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. The warning was issued to companies at the border as OCG efforts to establish new insider contracts are likely to increase. These contracts can be used to smuggle illegal commodities or move people through organised immigration crime .The NCA has warned that OCGs may approach workers face-to-face or online in a seemingly legitimate pretext.

This occurred in the following case studies:

• in Killingholme, a tug operator, Ben Whitby, was found with a package of cocaine and £3,000 cash.  A further search found £20,000 in cash and high value watches. Whitby was sentenced to six years and nine months imprisonment

• in the Port of Tilbury, an NCA investigation resulted in port worker, Michael Fowler, being jailed for 14 years for moving ‘dirty’ containers carrying drugs to an easily accessible area of the port for OCG collection.

Source: NCA warns furloughed port and airport workers could be exploited by organised criminal groups

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