Published: 15:02, 21 January 2020
| Updated: 17:46, 21 January 2020
A total of 21 migrants were found this morning.
In the first incident 11 were discovered at Dover Eastern Docks just before 5am.
Just after 6am a small boat carrying 10 people and travelling across the Channel.
A cutter was sent out and met the vessel near Dover.
The eight men, one woman and one child were taken on board and brought ashore.
They presented themselves as Iranian and Iraqi nationals
Two of the men were arrested on suspicion of illegal entry into the UK.
They were taken to a police station tobe questioned.
The remaining cases are being dealt with according to the immigration rules.
The Home Office added that other migrant activity was intercepted by the French and Belgian authorities.
A spokesman said: "Those who seek to come to the UK unlawfully and the ruthless criminals who facilitate journeys are all breaking the law and endangering lives.
“There has been a doubling of patrols on French beaches and drones, specialist vehicles and detection equipment have been deployed to stop small boats leaving French shores and arriving in the UK illegally.
“Individuals who reach the UK illegally should be in no doubt about our determination to return them to Europe as it is an established principle that those in need of protection should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach.”
The Home Office adds that since last January more than 125 migrants who entered the UK illegally on small boats have been returned to continental Europe.
KentOnline has counted up to 1,588 migrants, or suspected ones, arriving by this method throughout 2019 in 119 incidents.
They have involved people landing on the Kent coast from Thanet to Romney Marsh and just inside the Sussex border.
Or they have been rescued on the British side of the Channel and brought to Dover for interview and processing.
The Home Office adds that Immigration Enforcement’s Criminal and Financial Investigation team is working to gather intelligence from all small boat crossings.
The team is working with the National Crime Agency and police forces.
Information and evidence is shared with French law enforcement counterparts to identify the organised crime gangs behind the crossings.
Between December 2018 and December 2019 there were 16 successful French prosecutions which have seen 30 people convicted with sentences ranging from three months to six years.
More by this authorSam Lennon