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Coastguard and Border Force intercept suspected migrants near Dover

By Sam Lennon

A port has now had a fourth migrant incident in a week.

The Home Office has confirmed nine people, including a child, were found in a dinghy near Dover this morning.

It follows the rescue of seven migrants late last week, the interception of 17 migrants thought to be from Iran yesterday morning and seven men were found hiding in a lorry yesterday afternoon.

Dover cliffs and Eastern Docks
Dover cliffs and Eastern Docks

The Home Office now says that these nine were found shortly before 5am today.

A spokesman said later this morning: "The Border Force coastal patrol vessel, Hunter, along with the RNLI and HM Coastguard, intercepted an RHIB (rigid-hulled inflatable boat) in the Channel off the Kent Coast. CPV (coastal patrol vessel) Hunter escorted the RHIB with nine people on board to Dover’s Western Docks where they were met by Border Force and immigration officials.

“The nine, consisting of seven men, a woman and a child have presented themselves as Iranian nationals and are now being assessed by paramedics."

Kent Online is waiting for confirmation of the child's age.

Charlie Elphicke MP. Picture from the office of Charlie Elphicke.
Charlie Elphicke MP. Picture from the office of Charlie Elphicke.

Dover MP Charlie Elphicke said: “These attempts to break into Britain are coming thick and fast and becoming more shocking by the day.

“That people would take the risk of crossing the Channel on a small open boat with a child on board shows just how desperate they are.

“It underlines yet again why we need to increase the number of vessels patrolling our border. Having just two cutters is simply not enough of a deterrent.

“The Home Office must act urgently to tackle this growing problem – and boost our borders budget.”

Overnight last Thursday and Friday seven people in a dinghy were rescued in waters near the port.

Coastguards and the RNLI intercepted the boat before a Border Force vessel was deployed.

The group, who said they were Iranian, were brought ashore for medical checks and interviews with immigration officials.

Yesterday morning 17 migrants tried to land a fishing boat at Dover Harbour before being stopped by coastguards and the Border Force.

These were 14 men and three children, who also said they were Iranian.

The adults were dealt with by immigration officials and the children referred to social services.

Meanwhile seven men were found hiding in a lorry that arrived in Dover from Calais yesterday afternoon.

They were found by Port of Dover Police. One had to be taken to hospital and the others were referred to immigration officials.

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