border force boat
The UK Border Force, pictured here in Canary Wharf, London, picked up seven suspected illegal Ukrainian immigrants on a yacht off the Suffolk coast Getty

The UK Border Force has detained seven suspected illegal immigrants after a yacht was spotted in trouble off the Suffolk coast.

A group of Ukrainian nationals were discovered near Orford, 14 miles east of Ipswich, on Sunday (30 April) on a 28ft sailing boat.

The BBC reported that the coastguard was called out when the yacht got into difficulties in high winds while trying to get into River Ore from the North Sea.

The alarm was raised and UK coastguards and the RNLI were alerted to the incident.

ITV News reported that the main lifeboat from nearby Aldeburgh was on exercises in the area but because of shallow channels was unable to get into the river.

Caron Hill of Aldeburgh RNLI said: "Communication was difficult due to language barriers but a tow was eventually secured and the casualty taken to Orford Quay.

"The yacht was handed into the care of HM Coastguard and the Border Agency."

The boat carrying the suspected illegal immigrants was towed to the jetty at Orford where the suspects were arrested.

In 2014, three members of a Ukrainian organised crime syndicate were jailed after smuggling illegal immigrants into the UK through Suffolk.

The three men were yacht skipper Oleg Bogdanov, 41, deck hand Oleksii Pavliuchenko, 21, and people "courier" Oleksander Kozak, 25, of Bethnal Green, London.

They were stopped by UK Border Force as they attempted to bring six Ukrainian nationals in through Orford Quay, reported the Eastern Daily Press.

All three admitted conspiracy against immigration laws. Bogdanov was sentenced to four years, Kozak 40 months and Pavliuchenko 28 months imprisonment.

In August 2016 MPs warned that the UK had a "worryingly low" number of patrol boats along the coastline in the fight against people smugglers.

Calling for help from the Royal Navy a report, published by the Home Affairs Committee, said urgent improvements were needed in the security at small ports in Britain.