UK insurer International Transport Intermediaries Club (ITIC) has warned of people traffickers posing as vessel operators to smuggle illegal immigrants through ports.

ITIC wants its ship agent and port agent members to be on their guard against approaches from gangs.

The smugglers pretend to be shipping companies and ask agents to handle a change of crew, including booking travel and accommodation.

This gives them a degree of legitimacy and provides a cover for their illegal operations, the club said.