The back of beyond

When delivering AML training I like to include what clients often call “case studies”, but which are really just stories about how money laundering can happen.  The temptation is to focus on the big stories – the corrupt PEPs and the kleptocrats squirrelling away billions – but the stories that tend to have the greatest impact are those that are closer to home.  If I can show, for instance, the staff of a regional accountancy firm a money laundering story set in their home town and involving an industry with which they are familiar – rather than another Russian squillionaire parking another enormous yacht in Monaco – then they take away the most important AML lesson of all: there but for the grace of God…

And so I was thrilled recently to read about some local people traffickers being caught.  I live in East Anglia – the bulge sticking out of the eastern side of England – and it’s a fairly agricultural and rural area.  We have lots of farming: fruit, vegetables, chickens and pigs for the most part, all of which is labour-intensive.  And so East Anglia is a big user of seasonal migrant workers (we daren’t even think what might happen post-Brexit), and we have had quite a few people trafficking incidents.  But this one caught my eye because it involved Southwold.  Southwold.

To imagine Southwold, think of every Enid Blyton story you have ever read.  Imagine a sandy-ish beach with colourful beach huts and a pier with a penny arcade.  Imagine tea-shops, a hardware emporium selling buckets and spades, and a 70-seat independent cinema.  Imagine no railway station.  And into this 1950s environment three Ukrainian men sailed a yacht, the Flamingo, carrying nineteen illegal migrants.  By the time the Border Force vessel moved in on them, ten migrants were already in lorries on their way to Ipswich.  The three perpetrators have been jailed for trafficking offences and will be deported at the end of their sentences.  The next time someone suggests that I may be over-dramatising the risk from organised crime, I shall mention Southwold.

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3 Responses to The back of beyond

  1. CDWOS says:

    “And so East Anglia is a big user of seasonal migrant workers (we daren’t even think what might happen post-Brexit),” – All back to the land!?
    With the vast amount of coastline relative to its actual size Great Britain, the UK ( musn’t offend anyone!) has got to be close to the ultimate target for any criminally minded boat owner/thief!

  2. The irony is that many in the farming community voted for it… And you’re certainly right about our vulnerable coastline – have you watched “Poldark”?!

  3. CDWOS says:

    Not allowed to miss an episode, daughter is avid follower to the point that we have had visit Cornwall (and Devon!) twice in the last couple of years to go to several of the ‘shoot’ locations (truly stunning!). That really brings home to one how exposed we are to boats landing anywhere unnoticed for whatever reason (particularly in the non-Summer months)

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