Published: 16:38, 04 December 2019
| Updated: 16:24, 06 December 2019
Nearly 80 migrants were picked in in five small boat incidents today.
The total was 79, the highest number of people in a day since cases crossings by small craft have been reported over the last year.
The previous record was 74 in June.
These instances prompted a massive air and sea operation involving Border Force, Kent Police, HM Coastguard and the RNLI with a lifeboat launched from Dover.
In the first case, at around 2:50am, a Border Force vessel intercepted a RHIB (rigid-hulled inflatable boat), which was carrying a group of 8 people.
These were seven men and one child. They presented themselves as Iranian and Afghan nationals.
At 5.30am a Border Force vessel stopped a boat with 20 people.
These were men, women and children who said they were Iranian and Iraqi.
In the third case, at around 7:45am, officers from Immigration Enforcement and Kent Police attended a beach at Old Stairs, Kingsdown and found 20 people.
Their genders and nationalities are not yet confirmed.
Locals had told Kent Online of seeing five suspected migrants walking along a street in the village.
They said they counted 17 life jackets left on a boat on the beach.
In the fourth incident, at around 8:20am, a Border Force vessel intercepted a boat carrying 20 men, women and children.
They presented themselves as Iraqi and Syrian.
The Home Office said that in the fifth case, at around 9.15am, an RNLI lifeboat rescued 11 men, women and children from a vessel in the Channel.
They said they were Iranian nationals.
The RNLI had earlier told Kent Online that it had launched it's all-weather Dover lifeboat City of London II from the port at 7.20am.
The Home Office says that the people from all boats have been medically assessed before being interviewed by immigration officials.
A spokesman said: “Crossing the Channel in a small boat is incredibly dangerous. Anyone attempting the journey is taking a huge risk with their life and the lives of their children.
“The government continues to work with European partners to tackle illegal migration.”
Cases of migrants trying to reach the Kent coast by small craft have continually happened since last year.
Incidents have also occurred on or off the coasts of Folkestone, Hythe, Romney Marsh and Thanet.