Eight men charged after Albanian migrants rescued from boat in Channel

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Eight men have been charged over an alleged people smuggling operation involving Albanian migrants being shipped across the English Channel in small boats.

A National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation was launched after an abandoned rigid hulled inflatable boat containing life jackets was found on Dymchurch beach in Kent in May last year.

Then 18 days later another small boat, this time carrying 18 Albanians, was rescued from the Channel after it broke down and began taking on water.

The eight men charged with conspiring to facilitate illegal immigration are alleged to have been linked to both incidents, the NCA said.

They are due to appear at Medway Magistrates' Court on July 18.

The men are: Wayne Bath, 37, of Sea Approach, Warden, Kent; Alan Viles, 27, of Ash Tree Road, Folkestone; Albert Letchford, 41, of Rochester Road, Gravesend; Leonard Powell, 65, of Hilltop Farm, Farningham; George Powell, 40, also of Hilltop Farm, Farningham; Alfie Powell, 38, of Button Lane, Swanley; Sabah Dulaj, 22, of Hospital Way, Lewisham, south-east London, and Francis Wade, 58, of Gill Avenue, Rochester.