A SUSSEX man has been arrested on suspicion of supplying a dinghy to allow people to cross the English Channel.

National Crime Agency investigators have targeted people smugglers in East Sussex in a bid to cut the number of migrant boats crossing from France.

One man was arrested on suspicion of supplying the boats to aid those trafficking people into East Sussex and Kent.

The agency said one boat was seized on September 2 in Kent, on a day where 400 people are believed to have made the perilous crossing through one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.

A 30-year-old man from Hastings was arrested at 9am this morning (October 16), and a property in Battle Road in the town was searched.

The operation was supported by Sussex Police.

The NCA investigation relates to the sale and distribution of vessels sourced in the UK, and then taken to France to be used in Channel crossing attempts.

Meanwhile in a second incident, four men were arrested over an alleged handover of people from one lorry to another on the A2 in Kent. Two of the men were Albanian and two were Romanian, the agency said.

NCA Regional Head of Investigations Andrea Wilson said the operation will have “significantly disrupted” people-smuggling gangs exploiting migrants making life-threatening voyages.

She said: “The organised crime groups involved in people smuggling are cynical in their exploitation of migrants, and are happy to put them in incredibly dangerous and life-threatening situations, either in boats or in the back of lorries.

“We believe this activity today will significantly disrupt at least two such networks.

“Working with partners we are determined to do all we can to disrupt and dismantle the criminals behind these crossings, and our investigation into this particular criminal enterprise continues.”