An appeal has been made for support for a new Lincolnshire Coast Watch scheme - launched to help deter and detect criminal activity at sea.
Lincolnshire Coast Watch brings together law enforcement bodies responsible for thousands of miles of the county’s coastline.
The scheme is being run by Lincolnshire Police Special Branch in partnership with the Border Force, Ministry Of Defence and Eastern IFCA (Eastern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority).
With the help of the public, a dedicated team will look to identify vessels and individuals engaged in criminal activity, disrupt their operations and prosecute those involved.
Officers will assess and investigate any intelligence reported from maritime communities who we are asking to sign up to the Lincolnshire Coast Watch scheme via Lincs Alert.
Chief Superintendent Chris Davison, area commander for the east, said: "This is a significant first for Lincolnshire showing how everyone concerned with our coastline and the maritime community can work together to safeguard our national borders.
"We're asking maritime communities to help us protect the Lincolnshire coastline by reporting suspicious activity. People who sign up to Lincolnshire Coast Watch will receive email or text alerts form Lincolnshire Police advising then of suspicious vessels and persons to look out for along the Lincolnshire coast.
“The main aim of Coast Watch is to encourage people who may see anything out of the ordinary happening out at sea to contact us. This could be a sighting of a boat you wouldn’t normal expect to see coming into shore, boats returning to shore with more people on them than when they left, foreign nationals coming off the beach at unusual times in wet clothing. If people do see anything of this nature, we urge them to ring 101or 999 in an emergency.”
In October 2018 Lincolnshire Police referred four Albanian nationals located at the port of Boston suspected of entering the country illegally to Border Force. In December 2018, four males flagged a police vehicle down close to Huttoft Beach. The males stated they were of Iranian Nationality and were referred to officers from Immigration Enforcement. It is suspected these men had been dropped off by a small boat.
In the run up to the launch of Coast Watch, Border Force and Lincolnshire Special Branch conducted a joint operation targeting vessels entering Lincolnshire Ports via the Wash.
A number of vessels were boarded during the four day operation and officers interviewed 39 crew in total.
The operation did not highlight any major areas of concern, but has enabled police and Border Force to enhance their intelligence picture around the Lincolnshire Coast and inform future operational activity.
You can sign up for LincsAlert here www.lincolnshirealert.co.uk