Calls for more observation stations on Suffolk's coast

Suffolk's isolated coastline is feared to be an attractive entry point for smugglers. Credit: Mike

Could more observation towers help protect the Suffolk coast? - Credit: Archant

More observation towers on the Suffolk coast could help deter smugglers, it has been suggested.

Currently there are only a limited number of observation towers on the Suffolk coast with one at Pakefield and no more until Felixstowe. 

The primary job of the coastwatch teams based there is to look after those on the beach and in the sea. 

The volunteers see the ships moving in and out of the area, including those keeping an eye on the country's borders.

However there are concerns that a lack of similar towers further down the coast could potentially pose a risk. 

The Pakefield Coastwatch base. Picture: PAKEFIELD COASTWATCH

The Pakefield Coastwatch base. - Credit: PAKEFIELD COASTWATCH

“Border Force are common visitors here from time to time,” said Geoff Mann, station manager at Pakefield Coastwatch.

“We see patrol vehicles. 

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“East Anglia is less of a target for obvious reasons - it’s 100 miles to the Dutch coast."  

Smugglers have made there way to the Suffolk coast before: in November 2020 two Ukrainian nationals were jailed for over two years when they tried to bring over two Albanians illegally into Southwold. 

Mr Mann said there was a potential issue if people did make the crossing and decided to come up one of Suffolk’s rivers rather than closer to ports like Lowestoft and Felixstowe.  

“There are plenty of river mouths where there are no patrol observations," he said. 

“It would be better if there were more watch stations.” 

The calls come at a time when discussions over Britain's borders have become more heated. 

On Thursday it was announced that new laws proposed under sweeping changes to the asylum system could give Border Force officers powers to turn migrants away from the UK and back towards France when crossing the English Channel.

In just two days last week the Home Office said that it had to go out to 35 incidents to rescue a total of 757 people.

In the same period the French reported a total of 18 events over the two days preventing a total of 628 people from reaching the UK.

Border Force said it was unable to disclose how many times it had been called to the Suffolk coast. 

It was also unable to say whether the area was more at risk than others.  

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