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Border Force picks up 40 migrants off Kent coast, near Dover

Two boats carrying 40 migrants have been intercepted off the Kent coast today.

It comes after Border Force vessels were alerted to two separate incidents in the English Channel, near Dover, this morning.

The group includes men, women and children, who say they are from Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan.

A Border Force cutter intercepted two boats this morning. Stock picture: Susan Pilcher.
A Border Force cutter intercepted two boats this morning. Stock picture: Susan Pilcher.

All have now been medically assessed and transferred to immigration officers for interview.

Earlier this month, Dover and Deal MP Charlie Elphicke predicted the amount of people attempting to cross the Channel this summer could "surge to record levels" after 74 migrants, travelling in eight separate boats, were picked up by Border Force officials in a single day.

A Home Office spokesman said that since January, more than 35 people who have arrived in the UK via small boats have been returned to Europe.

"Anyone crossing the Channel in a small boat is taking a huge risk with their life and the lives of their children," they continued.

"Since the Home Secretary declared a major incident in December, two cutters have returned to UK waters from overseas operations. We have also agreed a joint action plan with France and increased activity out of the Joint Coordination and Information Centre in Calais.

"Last week, the Home Secretary and the French Interior Minister, Christophe Castaner, agreed to continue to explore options to reinforce the efforts already being made.

"It is an established principle that those in need of protection should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach."

Read more: All the latest news from Dover

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