Britain First start beach patrols for migrants in Dover
Published: 11:14, 18 September 2019
Updated: 15:26, 18 September 2019
Far right activists have started beach patrols in the Dover area on the lookout for migrants.
And hardline Britain First says it will intensify them in the coming weeks as part of a campaign called Operation White Cliffs.
The group carried out what it called the first of its "patriot migrant patrols" at Samphire Hoe Beach last Saturday with its leader, Paul Golding.
A statement from the group said: "This particular beach has been the main landing ground for multiple illegal migrant crossings.
"Equipped with torches, binoculars and hi-vis jackets, our activists patrolled the beach keeping a close eye out for migrant crossings.
"This new operation has been dubbed Operation White Cliffs and will be escalated over the next few weeks."
The group said once its members found migrants it would alert the police and coastguards.
Britain First earlier visited Calais where Mr Golding came across migrants and told them not to try to cross the Channel to Britain.
Deal resident Ben Bano, co-director of Seeking Sanctuary, which promotes awareness of the plight of refugees, said of the patrols: "This is an unhelpful and unnecessary initiative, which will only inflame tensions.
"The various statutory bodies including the Border Force and the Coastguard are well able and equipped to deal with migrants arriving at our coast without out any involvement or interference from other bodies."
A spokesman for another pro-migrant group, Care4Calais, said: "We are shocked and concerned to learn of this unsettling development on our Kent coastline.
"When deeply traumatised men, women and children arrive on our shores they are often in need of medical attention and should be met by professionals.
"We urge anyone who thinks otherwise to please think again.
" Whatever your opinion regarding the arrival of people from France, we believe it is essential to maintain respect for British law and trust in the work carried out by our emergency response services."
Britain First has stayed defiant in the face of criticism.
A spokesman said: "Until this situation is dealt with decisively by the authorities, we will continue and escalate these patrols."
A Kent Police spokesman said: "Officers will respond to reports along the coast in the same manner as when they respond to incidents inland, by assigning the most appropriate patrol depending on the circumstances reported.
"In many cases of a maritime nature, Kent Police will liaise with the appropriate partner agencies such as HM Coastguard, the UK Border Force and the RNLI."
The migrant crisis continues with 16 incidents on both sides of the Channel, involving a total 187 people, in seven days from September 10 to 16.
On Tuesday, September 10, an unprecedented total of 86 people were picked in in five incidents of crossings.
Small boats landed in Littlestone and Winchelsea, and another was seen near Dungeness.
Three others vessels were stopped mid-sea, two in one case, and the occupants brought to Dover.
That same day French maritime authorities photographed a lone kayaker in the Channel.
He was first seen nearly five miles outside Calais and a Belgian rescue helicopter later pinpointed him 11 miles north of Gravelines near Dunkirk.
The man was found to have mild hypothermia when a French rescue boat picked him up and he was taken to Dunkirk and handed to border police.
More by this authorSam Lennon