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People brought to Port of Dover after being rescued from the English Channel while crossing in small boats

More people have come ashore in Kent this morning after crossing the English Channel in small boats.

Pictures show groups being brought to Dover on board vessels of the Border Force and the RNLI in the early hours amid freezing temperatures.

People being brought ashore in Dover on a Border Force vessel
People being brought ashore in Dover on a Border Force vessel

It is understood a French vessel was also dispatched to the scene as the tiny inflatable crafts made the perilous crossing of the busy shipping lanes.

The Home Office has been approached for comment.

More than 28,300 people crossed the Dover Strait aboard small boats in 2021, triple the number for 2020.

Last year’s record number – an increase of about 20,000 on 2020 – came despite millions of pounds promised to French authorities to tackle the issue.

The decision to give the money to the French authorities has attracted criticism but has been defended by the Home Secretary Priti Patel.

She told MPs last July she made the pledge because illegal journeys had increased, requiring more beach patrols and capacity to intercept boats in the Channel.

Appearing in front of the Home Affairs select committee she said: “France are intercepting more boats than they did this time last year, that's because numbers are so high.So we've doubled the number of patrols around French beaches and improved surveillance, technology and intelligence."

KentOnline revealed last year that more than £1m was spent in just five months on surveillance from the sky, according to spending data published under government transparency rules.

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