Boat of 28 migrants intercepted in English Channel

25 January 2020, 18:17 | Updated: 25 January 2020, 18:19

Border Force officials intercepted the small boat carrying 28 people
Border Force officials intercepted the small boat carrying 28 people. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

A small boat carrying a group of 28 migrants has been intercepted by Border Force officials in the English Channel.

Authorities were alerted to a sighting of a vessel at around 5:30am on Saturday morning.

The UK-bound boat was found by the Border Force off the Kent coast at Dover.

It was carrying a group of 26 males and two females who claim to have journeyed from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Syria.

The group were taken to Dover where they each received a medical assessment. They were then interviewed by immigration officials.

The group were taken to Dover for medical assessments and interviews
The group were taken to Dover for medical assessments and interviews. Picture: PA

Warnings from UK authorities have been ignored, with dozens of people this week attempting the potentially perilous journey across the Channel's busy shipping lanes and choppy waters.

Tony Eastaugh, Home Office Director for Crime & Enforcement, said the UK was working "in tandem" with French and Belgian authorities to tackle illegal migrant crossings.

"We have extra patrols on French beaches, drones, specialist vehicles and detection equipment which has been deployed to stop small boats leaving European shores," he said.

The French coastguard also said it had been informed of a group of migrants close to the seaside resort of Stella Plage, near Le Touquet, northern France, in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Border Force found the group of migrants off the coast of Dover
Border Force found the group of migrants off the coast of Dover. Picture: PA

The group of eight were found in a vessel with a damaged engine at around 1:55am, according to the group that monitors the Channel, Premar Manche.

They were taken to Boulogne-sur-Mer at 5.10am with mild hypothermia, before being handed over to border police.

A group of 12 people, who presented themselves as Iranian nationals, were intercepted as they travelled across the Channel on Friday morning, while French authorities confirmed earlier that day that a further 11 were intercepted off the coast of Calais.

On Thursday, seven men who presented themselves as Syrian nationals were intercepted by the UK Border Force and taken to the mainland.

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