Three Boats Intercepted In The Channel

23 April 2019, 11:12 | Updated: 23 April 2019, 11:15

border force

A total of 36 suspected illegal immigrants have been intercepted in the English Channel by the Border Force as they attempted to reach the Kent coast.

The Coastguard helped officers in bringing the men, women and children, who had traveled on three separate boats, to safety off the Kent coast on Monday morning.

In the first incident, a Border Force cutter was scrambled in the early hours to intercept a small boat.

A group of 11 men on board, who said they were Iranian and Iraqi, were brought on to the Border Force vessel and brought to Dover where they were medically assessed and transferred to immigration officials for interview.

In the second incident, a second small boat was found with 15 people on board who said they were Iraqi and were brought to Dungeness by the RNLI before being handed over to immigration officials.

And a short while later, the Border Force intercepted a third boat with nine men and one woman on board, who said they were Iranian, and were brought to Dover.

A Home Office spokesman said: "Anyone crossing the Channel in a small boat is taking a huge risk with their life and the lives of their children.

"Since the Home Secretary declared a major incident in December, two cutters have returned to UK waters from overseas operations, we have agreed a joint action plan with France and increased activity out of the Joint Coordination and Information Centre in Calais.

"It is an established principle that those in need of protection should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach and since January more than 20 people who arrived illegally in the UK in small boats have been returned to Europe."