Published: 19:20, 07 April 2020
| Updated: 19:23, 07 April 2020
Border Force and supporting agencies have intercepted four boats crossing the English Channel today, detaining 59 migrants in the process.
At about 2.50am, a Border Force vessel intercepted a RHIB (rigid-hulled inflatable boat) carrying a group of 18 males who presented themselves as Iranian, Iraqi and Kuwaiti nationals.
The second stop occurred at about the same time, this time comprising a group of 13 men and two females who presented themselves as Iraqi and Iranian nationals.
Later - at around 5.15am - a RHIB carrying a group of 14 males was seized, with those on-board identifying themselves as Iranian and Iraqi nationals.
The final call-out took place at 6.15am, when a French asset intercepted a RHIB carrying a group of approximately 14 males and two females who presented themselves as Yemeni, Syrian, Iraqi and Iranian nationals.
A Home Office spokesman confirmed the incidents, and said: "All individuals were brought to Dover and, in line with established processes, will be assessed to establish whether there are any medical requirements. No issues reported.
"All will be transferred to immigration officials. They will be interviewed and their cases will be dealt with in line with the immigration rules, transferring to detention where appropriate.
"In line with Public Health England guidance, Border Force and all operational staff have the relevant Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) available to them.
"In line with Public Health England guidance migrants are not specifically tested for coronavirus, but are continuously monitored for symptoms."
Tony Eastaugh, Home Office Director for Crime & Enforcement, said: “These crossings are facilitated by criminals. We are doing everything in our power to bring them to justice and stop this illegal activity.
“We are working around the clock with the NCA and French law enforcement agencies to arrest and dismantle organised crime gangs.
“These crossings are facilitated by criminals...
"Since January 2019, 110 people smugglers have been convicted and imprisoned and over 155 people who arrived on small boats have been returned.
“And that’s not all, there are now extra patrols on French beaches, drones, specialist vehicles and detection equipment to stop small boats leaving European shores.”