A Lancashire man has been charged with allegedly facilitating small boat crossings across the English Channel.

The man was arrested as part of an investigation into small boat crossings across the Channel, and has now been charged with two alleged offences.

Amanj Hasan Zada, 34, of Stefano Road, Preston, has been charged with two counts of facilitating illegal immigration.

These relate to two alleged crossings made from France to the UK in November and December 2023, a spokesperson for the National Crime Agency said.

Zada, an Iranian national, is due to appear before Preston Magistrates' Court today.

He was arrested in the early hours of Sunday as part of an investigation into an organised crime network believed to be organising small boat crossings across the English Channel, the NCA said.

Speaking after his arrest on Sunday, NCA senior investigating officer Al Mullen said: “Tackling this threat is a priority for the NCA, we have seen only in recent weeks how dangerous these crossings are.

“We are determined to do all we can, working with partners in the UK, Europe and beyond, to target, disrupt and dismantle the criminals organising them.”

More than 2,500 people crossed the Channel in small boats in November and December 2023, according to Home Office data, and more than 8,500 have crossed so far in 2024.

The number of migrants crossing the Channel on small boats has continued steadily, despite the Government's legislation and aim to send people arriving in the UK illegally to the African country of Rwanda.

Last year, 4,800 people from Afghanistan crossed the Channel, the largest group by country, with the other most frequent nationalities being Iran, Eritrea and Turkey, Home Office figures show.

Last month five people, including a child, died while trying to cross the Channel, the 10th month in a row people had died crossing the body of water.