Three arrested over human trafficking after raid in Highcliffe

THREE men have been arrested on suspicion of people trafficking offences after a raid at a Highcliffe home.

Officers from Dorset Police and the Home Office’s UK Visas and Immigration team – formerly known as the Border Agency – swooped on the detached house in Lymington Road on Wednesday afternoon.

Three men – a 54-year-old and a 48-year-old, both from Lymington, as well as a 43-year-old from Poole – have now been released on bail until the middle of next month pending further enquiries.
A further three men aged 41 and two aged 52, all of whom are from China, have also been detained.

The raid took place at a quiet stretch of Lymington Road just minutes away from Highcliffe Castle.

Officers parked outside the Lord Bute Hotel and Restaurant before making the arrests at the private property.

The four-bed house is believed to have been bought for more than half a million pounds in September last year.
Owners are completing extensive renovations works to the property, which has a heated 30-foot swimming pool and pump house in the back garden, as well as two summer houses.

Estates agents described it as a “secluded plot”.

A security guard employed by firm Securitas was standing outside of the property throughout Wednesday night and into yesterday morning.

Neighbours have spoken of their shock.

One said: “Some people moved into the house around six or seven months ago I think.

“It’s set back from the road and it’s very private.

“There used to be a five-bar farm gate over the entrance, but the new owners have built a new fence, so it makes it even more isolated.”

A spokesperson from Dorset Police said the men from Lymington and Poole have been arrested on suspicion of human trafficking.

The Chinese nationals have been detained under immigration laws.

They will be dealt with by UK Immigration Services, the spokesperson said.

No one required medical treatment.

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