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Border Force intercepts four boats carrying 72 migrants crossing English Channel off Kent and Sussex coast


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Border Force officials have brought 72 migrants to Dover after four boats crossing the English Channel were intercepted today.

It comes after 57 were detained on Wednesday and a further 59 tried to make the journey on Tuesday.

A Border Force cutter intercepted a further four boats. Stock picture: Susan Pilcher
A Border Force cutter intercepted a further four boats. Stock picture: Susan Pilcher

The Border Force and partner agencies were first alerted to a RHIB (rigid-hulled inflatable boat) travelling towards the UK at 6.30am, carrying a group of 12 males who presented as Iraqi and Iranian nationals.

Shortly afterwards a group of 10 males and eight females, who presented as Iraqi, Iranian and Syrian nationals, were spotted.

Then, at 9.45am, a Border Force vessel intercepted a RHIB carrying a group of 13 males who, again, presented as Iraqi and Iranian nationals.

There was a fourth boat found approaching a beach in Hastings where 25 males and four females, presenting as Iranian and Iraqi, were on board.

All the migrants were brought to Dover and will be assessed to establish whether they have any medical requirements.

A RHIB boat similar to this one was used. Photo: Liliandra Von Kent
A RHIB boat similar to this one was used. Photo: Liliandra Von Kent

They will then be interviewed and their cases dealt with in line with immigration rules, transferring to detention where appropriate.

Tony Eastaugh, Home Office director for crime and enforcement, said: “Those facilitating these illegal crossings and the criminals behind this trade are breaking the law.

"If someone facilitates an illegal crossing, we will enforce the law and seek to return those with no right to be in the UK.

“We are working around the clock each day with the NCA and French law enforcement agencies to arrest and dismantle organised crime gangs in France.

"On a daily basis there are extra police patrols on French beaches, drones, specialist vehicles and detection equipment to stop small boats leaving European shores.”

Read more: All the latest news from Dover

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