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Migrant boats stopped in English Channel on VE Day

Boats containing asylum seekers have been stopped on the English Channel this morning.

The Home Office has confirmed that a number of rigid-hulled inflatable boats - or RHIBS - have been towed into Dover in the last few hours.

Two of the boats intercepted this morning by Border Force. Picture: Chris Johnson (34455225)
Two of the boats intercepted this morning by Border Force. Picture: Chris Johnson (34455225)

A Home Office spokesman said: "Border Force is currently dealing with a number of ongoing small boat incident off the Kent coast. Further details will be provided after the initial response and once the situation has been resolved."

An eyewitness, Chris Johnson, got footage of some boats being towed and suggested there could have been up to six stopped early this morning.

Video: Boats being pulled into Dover harbour, filmed by Chris Johnson

This is by no means the first migrant interception of the lockdown, with 76 migrants being halted on April 24.

A day later, a further 35 asylum seekers attempted to make the crossing.

Only five days ago Border Force intercepted 49 individuals over the course of a morning.

Minister for Immigration Compliance and the Courts Chris Philp said: “We are all working night and day to dismantle and arrest the criminal gangs who trade in people smuggling.

"This week, the Home Secretary spoke to her French Counterpart Interior Minister, Christophe Castaner who reaffirmed the commitment to carry out more returns at sea to stop these illegal crossings.

"The recent increase in crossings is totally unacceptable which is why we are stepping up action to stop the crossings, going after the criminals perpetrating these heinous crimes and prosecuting them for their criminal activity.”

More information as we get it.

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