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Record 86 migrants cross Channel in one day

The highest known number of migrants in one day attempted to cross the channel yesterday.

In total 86 people were picked up following five crossings, four of which saw them land in Kent.

Border Force had to pick up a record number of migrants in one day. Stock picture: Susan Pilcher
Border Force had to pick up a record number of migrants in one day. Stock picture: Susan Pilcher

The Home Office says that early in the morning Border Force intercepted two vessels, one with 11 people, the other with 12.

The occupants said they were Iranian, Afghan, Pakistani and Filippino and they were taken to Dover.

In the second case 13 people on a small boat landed at Littlestone, Romney Marsh.

They presented themselves as Iranian, Iraqi and Turkish.

At Pett Level Beach, near WInchelsea, East Sussex, another nine people who landed on the beach were detained.

Migrants have been coming in small craft such as dinghies.Library picture: Susan Pilcher
Migrants have been coming in small craft such as dinghies.Library picture: Susan Pilcher

Around midday Border Force were alerted to a RHIB (rigid-hulled inflatable boat) near Dungeness, Romney Marsh.

A total 18 people were on board and 14 presented themselves as Iranian, three as Iraqi and one as Vietnamese.

In the fifth incident, at around the same time, Border Force was alerted to a RHIB in the English Channel. Its vessel Seeker intercepted the craft and brought it to Dover.

A total of 23 people were on board who said they were Iranian and Ethiopian.

There has been cases almost every week in the last year of migrants trying to reach the UK on small boats.

KMTV's Harry Peet has the latest details

The previous highest known single figure in one day was 74 people in eight boats on June1.

A Home Office spokesman said: “Crossing the Channel in a small boat is a huge risk. The criminal gangs who perpetuate this are ruthless and do not care about loss of life.

“We are working closely at all levels with the French authorities to tackle this dangerous and illegal activity. In addition, Border Force cutters are patrolling the Channel and we have already deployed equipment including drones, CCTV and night vision goggles.

“Last month the Home Secretary and her French counterpart agreed to intensify joint action to tackle small boat crossings in the Channel. This includes drawing up an enhanced action plan to deploy more resources along the French coast to intercept and stop crossings.”

The Home Office says that since January it has returned more than 70 people who arrived illegally in small boats to Europe.

Read more: All the latest news from Kent


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