Published: 14:43, 15 October 2020
| Updated: 14:48, 15 October 2020
An army firing exercise had to be stopped after a boat carrying asylum seekers landed nearby.
Soldiers using live rounds at the Lydd Ranges, on Romney Marsh , were ordered to pause shooting after control on the Dengemarsh Lookout noticed a small boat carrying 10 to 15 people heading towards the Range Danger Area.
But as the boat landed on the ranges, the asylum seekers reportedly ran away towards the area of Ser 54, another part of the ranges.
Lookout and Range Control used the cameras they have available to them to track the group, who were found hiding in a Gorse bush.
Emergency services including the police were seen descending on the firing range during the incident, which happened yesterday morning.
Units, including the HAC (Honourable Artillery Company (Reserve Unit)), RAF Regiment and a Trial & Development Unit, resumed their training exercise after two hours.
An army spokesman said: "Incursions into the Range Danger Area happen infrequently."
A spokeswoman for the police said: "Kent Police assisted Border Force and other partner agencies after a report of suspected migrants seen near Dungeness at 8.55am on Wednesday, October 14."
The Home Office confirmed Border Force dealt with one incident yesterday, involving 15 people.
Dan O’Mahoney, Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, said: "Despite very poor weather in the Channel yesterday, a small boat managed to make this perilous crossing, underlining the extreme danger people smugglers are willing to expose people to for profit.
"These crossings are facilitated by callous criminals who smuggle people out of safe EU countries in order to evade our tough immigration controls and put more pressure on our already broken asylum system - delaying or denying support to those genuinely in need of protection.
"We have committed to reforming the asylum system, to stop those who have no right to be in the UK coming here.
'Despite very poor weather in the Channel yesterday, a small boat managed to make this perilous crossing...'
"The new system will be fairer and firmer, and will be compassionate towards those who need our help, welcoming people through safe and legal routes."
Last month, amid more and more people coming to the UK to seek asylum, the Home Office opened a temporary holding site at Napier Barracks in Sandgate, Folkestone .
It has provided beds for around 400 asylum seekers, all adult, single men.