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Police and Border Force search for suspected migrants thought to have landed at Kingsdown Beach

Police have been assisting Border Force in their search for suspected migrants in the area surrounding a Kent beach.

Officers were seen in the area of The Leas and Queensdown Road, in Kingsdown near Deal at 7am yesterday (Thursday) and coastguards have brought an abandoned dinghy ashore.

Police on the hunt for migrants searched in the area of The Leas in Kingsdown. Picture Google Maps (37246380)
Police on the hunt for migrants searched in the area of The Leas in Kingsdown. Picture Google Maps (37246380)

A resident, who does not wish to be named, also reported seeing a helicopter in the sky.

She said she saw five men, aged between 20 and 30 pass her house. All were wearing tracksuits.

A police spokesman said: "Kent Police are assisting Border Force and HM Coastguard following reports of suspected migrants seen at The Leas, Kingsdown.

"We were called shortly after 7am on Thursday 25 June 2020."

It comes as Border Force officers dealt with three incidents.

The abandoned inflatable craft was brought to shore at lunchtime
The abandoned inflatable craft was brought to shore at lunchtime

A source on the beach who does not want to be named said there were two boats at Kingsdown this morning, both were full.

The dinghy pictured here had 12 on board, she said.

Minister for Immigration Compliance and the Courts Chris Philp said:“Using all the skills of Border Force, the National Crime Agency, Immigration Enforcement and French Law enforcement, we are determined to dismantle the ruthless criminal gangs who facilitate these crossings and put people’s lives in danger. We are bringing those responsible to justice and earlier this month two people smugglers were jailed, bringing the total jailed this year to 21.

“Over the last two months the French stopped over 1,000 migrants from making this perilous journey, and prevented further attempts yesterday.

“But we won’t stop there and will continue to work tirelessly with our French counterparts to combat this.”

Coastguards bringing an abandoned small boat ashore
Coastguards bringing an abandoned small boat ashore

The first incident was at around 7.30am when Border Force was alerted that a number of individuals had landed on the beach in Kingsdown. Eight individuals have been apprehended by Border Force

Then at around 8am a Border Force vessel intercepted a boat which was carrying a group of 13 males and one female who presented themselves as Syrian and Iraqi nationals.

The last known incident was around 9.20am when Border Force was alerted that a number of individuals had landed on the beach at Abbotscliffe between Dover and Folkestone. Thirteen males and two females have been apprehended by Border Force.

All individuals were brought to Home Office facilities in Dover and Folkestone where they were assessed to establish whether there are any medical requirements.

A Hone Office statement said: "The migrants have left a safe country – generally France – and where appropriate we will be seeking to return them."

Illegal trafficking gangs are targeting small beaches along the Kent Coast, usually early in the morning to avoid detection at highly patrolled areas like Dover.

Kingsdown has previously been a landing site.

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