A man wanted in Belgium for his role in an attempt to use a boat to smuggle people across the Channel to the UK has been arrested by the National Crime Agency in north London.

Ertem being led away by NCA Officers

47-year-old British national Isa Ertem was taken into custody by officers at an address in Winchmore Hill Road, Southgate, this morning.

Ertem is wanted by prosecutors in Bruges in connection with the attempted smuggling of eight people on a yacht on 1 August 2021.

The eight and the skipper of the vessel Rumrunner, which was going to be used for the crossing, were detained by the Belgian authorities at a marina in the town of Nieuwpoort, near the French border.

Evidence obtained by the Belgian Federal Police suggests Ertem’s vehicle was nearby at the time.

NCA checks revealed the boat and skipper had sailed to Belgium from a marina at Burnham-on-Crouch in Essex.

A Belgian investigating magistrate issued an arrest warrant in January 2022, and Ertem will now appear before Westminster Magistrates where extradition proceedings will commence.

The NCA’s Head of Organised Immigration Crime Operations, Martin Grace, said:

“The NCA continues to work closely with partners in France, Belgium and beyond to target the organised crime groups involved in cross-Channel people smuggling.

“We are clear that where we can identify there are UK links to this criminality we will take action.

“Organised immigration crime is exploitative and dangerous, we have seen the tragic consequences it can have. This is why it remains a priority for the NCA.”