Coastguard intercepts up to EIGHT more boats containing as many as 50 migrants crossing the Channel – just one day after 13 made it to UK on small vessels
- Despite cold weather, series of migrant boats have attempted Channel crossing
- 13 people brought ashore yesterday and at least three more boats towed in today
- Reports suggest as many as eight boats may have been intercepted today
As many as eight dinghies carrying migrants trying to get to Britain are thought to have crossed the English Channel this morning.
Yesterday, 13 people, including a child, were picked up in inflatable dinghies off the coast of Dover and brought to shore.
Border Force boats, a coastguard aircraft and RNLI lifeboats were dispatched to the Dover Strait again this morning as a number of small boats were seen floundering in the water.
Officials have so-far refused to say how many boats have been intercepted, although reports from the Kent coast suggest as many as eight have made the crossing, with up to 50 people inside.
A group of migrants are given blankets as then arrive on shore in Dover this morning
An RNLI lifeboat was seen towing a small dinghy into Dover docks earlier this morning
Pictures from Dover show a group of people, each wrapped in blankets, being dealt with by Border Force officials.
Footage from nearby Kingsdown meanwhile shows officials hauling a huge dinghy up a beach as part of the investigation.
The last time as many as eight boats made the crossing in one day was in June, when the weather was obviously much warmer.
A coastguard spokesman said: ‘We have assisted Border Force with multiple incidents off the Kent coast today, working with Kent Police and the RNLI.
‘RNLI lifeboats and Border Force patrol vessels were sent. Coastguard teams and a coastguard fixed wing aircraft also provided additional support.’
Yesterday morning, a rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB), carrying eight Iranian men, was detected at 8am and picked up by a Border Force cutter.
Around an hour later, a second RHIB was picked up by a Border Force coastal patrol vessel, with four men and the minor on board.
Four of them presented themselves as Iranian, while another said they were Albanian.
This large inflatable dinghy was found on the beach at Kingsdown, a coastal village in Kent
Items used by people smugglers and migrants were packaged up by Border Force officials
Authorities brought those on board the small boats ashore and they will now be dealt with by the Home Office
More than 1,600 have entered the UK since January – more than the whole of last year.
The issue erupted last November, with hundreds arriving in the final two months of 2018.
It prompted then-home secretary Sajid Javid to declare a ‘major incident’, calling in extra Border Force cutters and the Government spending millions of pounds to tackle the issue.
But the problem has worsened throughout 2019, and Home Secretary Priti Patel revealed in October she had agreed an ‘action plan’ with France.
She said patrols across the French coast had been doubled to stop people smugglers, and the Home Office had already funded drones to scour France’s beaches – but the crossings have continued.
Last month (NOV), at least 129 migrants made it into the UK by making the life-risking trip across the Dover Strait, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.
It comes after 13 people, said to be Iranian and Albanian, were brought ashore yesterday