M2

Six miles of traffic on M2 after lorry overturns

There are six and half miles of traffic on the A2/M2 as work to recover a lorry continues.

The incident happened at around 10.30pm on the London bound carriageway of the A2 near Cobham.

The overturned lorry on the A2. Picture: UKNiP

The overturned lorry on the A2. Picture: UKNiP

The overturned lorry on the A2. Picture: UKNiP

There are delays of around 45 minutes and queues are stretching back to junction 3 of the M2.

Lane one and two remain closed.

A statement from Highways England said: “This is likely to take a few more hours to due to the complexity of the recovery and the damage to infrastructure.

“Please allow extra time for your journey if planning on using this section of road. If possible please consider alternate routes.”

Police were called at 10.39pm and closed a lane to ensure public safety. No serious injuries were reported and officers left the recovery effort to Highways England shortly after.

Avoid getting stuck on Kent’s roads by keeping up-to-date on all of the latest traffic and travel news here or by following our live blog. [1][2]

Listen to kmfm for regular travel updates.[3]

Read more: All the latest news from Gravesend[4]

Miles of queues after crash and blocked Dartford Crossing

Three incidents – including a crash which led to a woman being taken to hospital after a two-car crash on the A2 – are causing miles of queues.

One lane has been closed following the incident on the coastbound carriageway near the Cobham services between Gravesend[1] and Medway[2].

Queuing traffic on the M25 from Swanley towards the Dartford Crossing after a tunnel was blocked. Picture: Highways England

Queuing traffic on the M25 from Swanley towards the Dartford Crossing after a tunnel was blocked. Picture: Highways England

Queuing traffic on the M25 from Swanley towards the Dartford Crossing after a tunnel was blocked. Picture: Highways England

Traffic is queuing between the A227 and start of the M2, according to Highways England.

Queues are expected to remain until 1pm while the crash is cleared.

Police spokesman Martin Very said: “Kent Police was called at around 10.35am on June 1 regarding a collision involving two cars on the coastbound carriageway of the A2 near Gravesend.

“Patrols and South East Coast Ambulance Service attended and a woman who reported an injury was taken to a local hospital for medical attention.

“Highways officers remain at the scene arranging vehicle recovery.”

Queuing traffic on the M25 from Swanley towards the Dartford Crossing after a tunnel was blocked. Picture: Highways England

Queuing traffic on the M25 from Swanley towards the Dartford Crossing after a tunnel was blocked. Picture: Highways England

Queuing traffic on the M25 from Swanley towards the Dartford Crossing after a tunnel was blocked. Picture: Highways England

The woman’s injury is not said to be serious or life-threatening and recovery work is ongoing.

Meanwhile, traffic in the opposite direction of the A2 towards London is moving slowly following an earlier incident at the Dartford Crossing, which saw a lorry block the western tunnel.

A spokesman for Highways England said: “The tunnel had to be shut for the lorry to reverse out at 10.45am, with the tunnel closed for around 20 minutes.

“Once the lorry was out, it went down the other tunnel and everything was back to normal.”

But jams have been building between the A2260 junction near Bean and the A296 at Bluewater as a result.

On the M25 anti-clockwise there are queues between Swanley and the Lakeside junction in Essex.

Traffic is expected to take about half an hour to clear the area.

In a separate incident, a broken down vehicle in the outside lane of the M25 at the Darenth Interchange is also adding to heavy traffic.

All lanes are now reopen.

Avoid getting stuck on Kent’s roads by keeping up-to-date on all of the latest traffic and travel news here[3] or by following our live blog[4].

Read more: All the latest news from Gravesend[5]

References

  1. ^ Gravesend (www.kentonline.co.uk)
  2. ^ Medway (www.kentonline.co.uk)
  3. ^ latest traffic and travel news here (www.kentonline.co.uk)
  4. ^ live blog (www.kentonline.co.uk)
  5. ^ Read more: All the latest news from Gravesend (www.kentonline.co.uk)

Road partially blocked following crash

A crash between two cars and a lorry has left access to a major carriageway partially blocked.

The accident was reported on the Londonbound A2 at Brenley Corner at around 8.35pm.

It is not known if anyone is injured.

The accident is at the Brenley Corner roundabout. Stock picture

The accident is at the Brenley Corner roundabout. Stock picture

The accident is at the Brenley Corner roundabout. Stock picture

Traffic is said to be moving slowly at Boughton under Blean, with the collision recorded just before J7 of the M2, on the roundabout.

It comes just hours after a crash[1] involving two cars and a motorbike between J6 and J5 of the M2.

Avoid getting stuck on Kent’s roads by keeping up-to-date on all of the latest traffic and travel news here or by following our live blog.[2][3]

Read more: All the latest news from Canterbury[4]

References

  1. ^ just hours after a crash (www.kentonline.co.uk)
  2. ^ latest traffic and travel news (www.kentonline.co.uk)
  3. ^ live blog (www.kentonline.co.uk)
  4. ^ Read more: All the latest news from Canterbury (www.kentonline.co.uk)

‘Fix it, open it and then leave us all in peace’

It’s the news no driver wants to hear – once again parts of the busy M20 are to be closed to allow roadworks to take place.

Highways England will be carrying out yet more work of the road through Maidstone[1] and Malling[2] during the summer, with some full overnight closures planned between junctions 4 and 6.

The recently-finished smart motorway section of the M20

The recently-finished smart motorway section of the M20

The recently-finished smart motorway section of the M20

Workers are expected to be on site from June 7 to resurface the carriageway, refresh line markings and replace road studs.

The work is expected to take place run until August 27.

Most of the work will be facilitated by lane closures between 8pm and 6pm.

However, there will be some overnight carriageway closures, with the road shut eastbound on July 12-15 and westbound on August 23-26.

A diversion will be in place, with drivers sent via the A228, M2 and A229 – a distance of around 13.5 miles compared to the 4.5 miles along the M20.

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The news of the latest scheme has been met with exasperation by Chatham and Aylesford MP Tracey Crouch, who has previously hit out at what see described as “shambolic” management of projects on the motorway which runs through her constituency.

“These night-time road closures are utterly ridiculous given how much disruption residents along the M20 and A20 have already faced,” she said.

“I wish they would just shut it, fix it, open it and then leave us all in peace.”

Roadworks on the M20 have been a common sight in recent years, particularly in the section between junctions 3 and 5 where two years of work was carried out to convert a 6.5-mile stretch into a smart motorway.

That work finished in May last year, but by the summer workmen were back – this time to replace a footbridge which collapsed when it was hit by a lorry in August 2016[3].

Tracey Crouch MP

Tracey Crouch MP

Tracey Crouch MP

Speaking at the time, Ms Crouch said: “It has been a shambolically managed project from the outset and requests to combine works to minimise disruption have been ignored.

“Unfortunately Highways England appear to do whatever it likes, when it likes, with little accountability, something that needs to be addressed for future road build projects.”

Avoid getting stuck on Kent’s roads by keeping up-to-date on all of the latest traffic and travel news here[4] or by following our live blog[5].

Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone[6]

Read more: All the latest news from Malling[7]

References

  1. ^ Maidstone (www.kentonline.co.uk)
  2. ^ Malling (www.kentonline.co.uk)
  3. ^ this time to replace a footbridge which collapsed when it was hit by a lorry in August 2016 (www.kentonline.co.uk)
  4. ^ latest traffic and travel news here (www.kentonline.co.uk)
  5. ^ following our live blog (www.kentonline.co.uk)
  6. ^ Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone (www.kentonline.co.uk)
  7. ^ Read more: All the latest news from Malling (www.kentonline.co.uk)

Police Professional | People smuggling network dismantled following ‘significant operation’ by the NCA

People smuggling network dismantled following ‘significant operation’ by the NCA

The suspected masterminds behind a people smuggling network thought to be responsible for the movement of hundreds of migrants both into and out of the UK have been arrested following a “significant operation’ by the National Crime Agency (NCA).

May 20, 2021

By Paul Jacques

Migrants safe house discovered by the NCA.

The two men, aged 52 and 28, were detained on suspicion of conspiring to facilitate illegal immigration following NCA raids in Woodford Green and Bushwood, East London, on Wednesday (May 19).

Another five people, all licensed mini-cab drivers, were also arrested by the NCA in various locations around East London. They are accused of being involved in transporting migrants to or from lorry pick-up and drop-off points.

NCA investigators also identified a safe house in Mile End, in which 11 suspected migrants were detained. The property had been converted to accommodate at least 19 people, with bunk beds filling every room. Seven people were handed to the immigration authorities to be dealt with.

More than 130 officers were involved in the raids, which followed a lengthy investigation by the NCA into the network, codenamed Operation Symbolry.

This identified an organised crime group with connections in both Europe and Asia, using a network of predominately Romanian lorries to move migrants across the Channel from France into Kent, or the other way around.

NCA Branch Operations Manager Chris Hill said: “Operation Symbolry is a significant investigation into a wide-ranging criminal network involved in people smuggling, moving migrants illegally in both directions across the border between the UK and France.

“We believe the arrests today, coupled with the actions we have already taken, will end the activities of that network.

“Organised crime groups often rely upon enablers such as complicit lorry drivers and minicab drivers to carry out their work, offering them money to help.”

He said the penalties for drivers caught smuggling migrants “are severe”.

Home Secretary Priti Patel, who accompanied NCA officers during the operation, said: “This is a significant win for UK law enforcement. The arrests secured by the NCA have broken up a callous criminal gang and put vile people smugglers behind bars.

“These criminal gangs don’t care for the people they traffic. They’re treating innocent lives as a commodity and lining their pockets while people are dying.

“That is why I am delivering our New Plan for Immigration to break the business model of the people smugglers and protect the lives of those they endanger.”

NCA Deputy Director of Investigations Chris Farrimond said it has around 50 ongoing investigations into networks or individuals in the top tier of organised immigration crime or human trafficking – the highest harm.

Operation Symbolry has already seen seven people, including six lorry drivers, arrested and charged with people smuggling offences. Five have been convicted, after their trucks were intercepted outbound and migrants were found in the rear.

They include Romanian national Marius Halmaghe, aged 36, who was stopped on the A2 in Kent on October 1, 2020, with four migrants discovered by police. He was sentenced to 31 months in prison.

Three days later on October 4, 29-year-old Alexandru Fuiorea was arrested as part of an intelligence-led operation on the M2. Eighteen migrants were found hidden in the rear of his truck, which was heading towards Dover. Fuiorea was given a sentence of three years and eight months.

On November 6, 2020, Mihai-Veleriu Postolache, aged 25, and his partner Roxana Gabriela Stan, 25, were arrested by the NCA after five migrants were discovered in their HGV as it entered the port of Dover. They would later be sentenced to 33 months and 14 months respectively.

Turkish lorry driver Hakan Zengin, 36, was arrested on March 21 this year on the M25 and found with s17 migrants in his lorry. He pleaded guilty to immigration offences on May 7 and awaits sentence.

And 38-year-old Waqas Ikram has been charged with people smuggling offences after a lorry was broken into on March 30, 2021. Four migrants were later found after it was searched by police at South Mimms services on the M25.

A further two lorry drivers had previously been dealt with by the authorities in France.

In total Operation Symbolry has led to the interception of more than 100 migrants. Three of those found attempting to leave the UK illegally were wanted by UK law enforcement.

The investigation has been supported by the Metropolitan Police Service, Kent Police, Surrey Police, Hertfordshire Constabulary, Thames Valley Police, Essex Police and Immigration Enforcement.

Mr Farrimond said: “People smugglers are ruthless, treating migrants as a commodity and they do not care about the safety of those they transport. We have seen this, tragically, in recent and historic mass fatalities.

“This is why tackling the gangs involved is a priority for us.

“Working with partners both domestically and internationally we are determined to do all we can to disrupt and dismantle the organised criminal groups involved, and we will use the full suite of powers at our disposal.”

UK Arrests Suspected Ringleaders of People Smuggling Gang

UK authorities on Wednesday arrested two suspected leading figures in people smuggling[1] networks thought to be behind the movements of hundreds of migrants both into and out of the country.

The two men, aged 52 and 28, were detained in early morning raids in Woodford Green and Bushwood, east London, the National Crime Agency[2] (NCA) said.

Another five people, all licenced mini-cab drivers, were also arrested in various locations around east London. They are accused of being involved in transporting migrants to or from lorry pick-up and drop-off points.

Officers also detained 11 suspected migrants in a safe house in Mile End, which had been converted to accommodate at least 19 people.

Home Secretary Priti Patel[3], who accompanied NCA officers on the operation, said: “This is a significant win for UK law enforcement. The arrests secured by the NCA have broken up a callous criminal gang and put vile people smugglers behind bars.

“These criminal gangs don’t care for the people they traffic. They’re treating innocent lives as a commodity and lining their pockets while people are dying.

“That is why I am delivering our New Plan for Immigration to break the business model of the people smugglers and protect the lives of those they endanger.”

Wednesday’s operation, which involved more than 130 officers, followed a lengthy investigation codenamed Operation Symbolry.

The operation identified an organised crime group with connections in both Europe and Asia, using a network of predominately Romanian lorries to move migrants across the English Channel from France into Kent, or the other way round.

As part of Operation Symbolry, seven people, including six lorry drivers, have been arrested and charged with people smuggling offences, five of whom have been convicted.

They include Romanian national Marius Halmaghe, 36, who was stopped on the A2 in Kent on Oct. 1, 2020, with four migrants discovered by police. He was sentenced to 31 months in prison.

Alexandru Fuiorea, 29, was arrested on Oct. 4, 2020, after he was stopped on the M2 with 18 migrants hidden in the rear of his truck. Fuiorea was jailed for three years and eight months.

Turkish lorry driver Hakan Zengin, 36, was arrested on March 21, 2021, on the M25 and found with seventeen migrants in his lorry.

In total, Operation Symbolry has led to the interception of more than 100 migrants. But it is just one of many ongoing NCA operations against people smuggling.

Chris Farrimond, Deputy Director of Investigations, said the NCA has around 50 ongoing investigations into human trafficking gangs.

References

  1. ^ people smuggling (www.theepochtimes.com)
  2. ^ National Crime Agency (www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk)
  3. ^ Priti Patel (www.theepochtimes.com)