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85 migrants found off Kent coast trying to cross Channel

Eighty-five migrants have been found off the Kent coast during several attempted early morning crossings.

Border Force officials were called to six incidents in the Channel today as dozens of people from Asia and Africa tried to travel towards the UK.

A Border Force cutter. Stock picture
A Border Force cutter. Stock picture

Officers were first alerted when a lifeboat intercepted a vessel carrying four Sudanese men in the early hours.

At about 4.25am a craft carrying 16 men who presented themselves as Yemeni, Syrian, Egyptian, Iranian, Kuwaiti and Palestinian nationals.

Five women and 17 men were then discovered 25 minutes later.

A fourth boat carrying 12 more from Syria, Egypt, Iran, Kuwait, Iraq and Palestine was intercepted at about 5am.

And 30 minutes after a Border Force vessel found a boat with 18 men who said they were from Iran, Syria, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Eritrea and Vietnam.

Dover Eastern Docks. Stock picture
Dover Eastern Docks. Stock picture

The last was discovered at 6.20am with 13 people on board.

Minister for immigration compliance Chris Philp said: “We are continuing to take action to stop these dangerous crossings -making arrests, returning people and intercepting boats.

"The French have prevented more than 200 attempts in the past week alone.

“But there is still more to do which is why we have set up a new Franco-British intelligence cell, which will go after the criminals facilitating these crossings.”

A Border Force vessel carrying several suspected migrants was seen docked in Dover today.

All of the men and women found this morning were assessed to establish whether they have any medical requirements.

They will be interviewed and officials say that, where appropriate, they we will be seeking to deport them.

Read more: All the latest news from Dover

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