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22 migrants picked up by officials in two more incidents off Kent coast

By Sam Lennon

Twenty-two migrants have been transferred to officials today after two new migrant incidents have occurred off the Kent coast.

HM Coastguard confirmed that it helped Border Force with two cases this morning.

The first boat to be intercepted near St Margarets Bay at 4am was carrying four adults and two children.

An hour later, patrols identified another vessel travelling towards Shakespeare Beach in Dover.

It contained 16 more people - four children, five women and seven men.

The Home Office spokesman said: "All individuals were brought to Dover, where they were medically assessed and found to be well, before being transferred to immigration officials for their cases to be dealt with.

"Their nationalities have not yet been confirmed."

A spokesman for HM Coastguard said: "We have been assisting Border Force with two incidents off the Kent coast this morning.

"HM Coastguard is committed to safeguarding life around the seas and coastal areas of this country.

"We are only concerned with preservation of life, rescuing those in trouble and bringing them safely back to shore, where they will be handed over to the relevant partner emergency services or authorities."

This abandoned dinghy was found this morning at St Margarets Bay
This abandoned dinghy was found this morning at St Margarets Bay

Charlie Elphicke, MP for Dover and Deal who lives in the village, has responded to the latest incidents.

He said: "This brazen incident underlines just how lucrative the people smuggling trade across the English Channel has become.

“This is an expensive boat and outboard that has been dumped on the beach. Illegal entrants should not be able simply to motor up to shore at the foot of the White Cliffs and then disappear.

"The Dover frontline needs to be made secure. The French authorities and the Home Office must get a grip on this crisis."

The abandoned dinghy contained a number of lifejackets
The abandoned dinghy contained a number of lifejackets

There has been a trend since last autumn of migrants trying to reach the British coast by small craft.

The net figure, since November 8, excluding today's incidents, has been 82 cases involving a total 708 people.

This is for migrants who have landed on our shores, including at Dover, Kingsdown, Folkestone and Romney Marsh.

Or they have been rescued by British authorities and brought ashore for interview.

Thee is a gross figure of 109 cases concerning 764 people, which includes instances where the French authorities have stopped migrants early on and brought them back to France.

It also includes cases of migrants found to have reached Kent in the backs of lorries, a method used for years.

More details on today's incidents as we get them.

Read more: All the latest news from Deal

Read more: All the latest news from Dover

Read more: All the latest news from Folkestone

Read more: All the latest news from Romney Marsh

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