10.4 C
Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Asylum seekers missing from Hove hotel arrested for drug offences

Getty Images

Three asylum-seekers missing from a hotel in Hove were arrested for drug offences, it has emerged.

Sussex Police said 76 minors housed in the city were currently missing.

Two of the young people were arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply drugs in Cambridgeshire and Gloucester, while the third was arrested on suspicion of cultivation of cannabis in Tottenham.

The Home Office said the welfare of minors was an “absolute priority”.

All three of the offences and arrests happened in 2022, BBC Politics South East has revealed.

Lauren Starkey, a social worker at anti-child trafficking charity Love146, says it is common for young asylum seekers to be forced into criminal activity.

“I want to be clear that those children are not there willingly,” she said.

“I think the three who have been found give us a really good idea of what is happening. Based on the patterns we see, it’s very likely that they will be in places like cannabis farms and county lines drug dealing.”

Helena Dollimore and Huw Merriman

However, Bexhill and Battle MP Huw Merriman, a Conservative, said asylum seekers were “free to come and go” from the hotels.

“The reality of the situation is that these are children that are able to move. They are not detained,” he said.

“But I’ve never found hotels a satisfactory place for anyone to housed. They’re expensive and do nothing for the area.”

Labour’s general election candidate for Hastings and Rye, Helena Dollimore, called for an urgent investigation.

‘Extremely serious’

In May last year, two men were arrested on suspicion of intent to commit human trafficking after their vehicle was stopped on the M25.

The three young residents of the Hove hotel were taken back into the care of the Home Office, while both suspects were released while inquiries continue.

A Sussex Police spokesperson said: “Once a person is located, where criminality is associated with either the initial disappearance or subsequent harbouring of those wishing to remain missing, Sussex Police will assess and take positive action as appropriate.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Any child or minor going missing is extremely serious, and we work around the clock with the police and local authorities to urgently locate them and ensure they are safe.

“We are determined to stop the use of hotels for all minors. To achieve this goal, we are providing local authorities with £15,000 for every unaccompanied child they take into their care.”

Presentational grey line

Follow BBC South East on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Instagram. Send your story ideas to [email protected]

Related Internet Links

  • Brighton & Hove City Council

  • Home Office

  • Sussex Police

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.
Latest news
Related news


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here