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Dover: Two migrants in inflatable boat pulled from the Channel off Kent coast

By Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Two men in an inflatable boat have been pulled from the sea near Dover - the latest in a growing number of migrants who have attempted to reach the UK by small boat in recent weeks.

Thought to be Iranian, they were found in the Channel at about 3pm today.

The Home Office has confirmed they were brought to shore, and will be interviewed by immigration officers in due course.

More than 100 people have been caught within a three-week period
More than 100 people have been caught within a three-week period

A spokesman said: "At around 3pm today, a Border Force coastal patrol vessel deployed in the Channel intercepted an inflatable boat on the Kent coast, near St Margaret's Bay, with two men on board.

"The coastal patrol vessel brought the two men and the inflatable into Dover, where they were met by Border Force officers.

"The men, who presented themselves as Iranian nationals, have been transferred to immigration officer for interview."

This incident comes as figures show 119 people have been found in the sea in a three-week period, in the areas of Dover, Folkestone and the French coast.

The statistics obtained by KM show that between November 8 and November 27, 14 attempts were made to enter Kent using small boats.

In response to this upsurge in attempts to reach the UK via the Channel, a Home Office spokesman said on Thursday: "We have stepped up deployments of our coastal patrol vessels along the south-east coast in light of recent events. However, this is not an issue that can be resolved by maritime resources alone.

"The Home Secretary has been clear the evidence shows there is organised criminal gang activity behind illegal migration attempts by small boats across the Channel, which we take extremely seriously.

"We are working across government and with both domestic and international agencies to respond to this issue.

"Today the Home Secretary confirmed that a new UK-France Co-ordination and Information Centre has opened in Calais as part of the ongoing co-operation between the UK and France to tackle criminality at the border.

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