Border Force intercept 41 migrants trying to cross the English Channel

16 September 2019, 13:19

41 migrants have been intercepted trying to cross the channel
41 migrants have been intercepted trying to cross the channel. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

41 migrants, including two in a kayak, have been caught trying to cross the English Channel after a spate of camp clearances in France.

Border force intercepted four small boats as they took advantage of clear skies and relatively calm conditions on Sunday.

Two children were among those rescued from the small vessels.

The two kayakers, who said they were Iranian and Afghan, were picked up as they tried to make the perilous journey.

The migrants said they were Iranian, Afghan, Turkish and Malian.

All have been medically checked and taken to immigration officials for questioning, the Home Office said.

Two men in a kayak were among those trying to make the dangerous journey
Two men in a kayak were among those trying to make the dangerous journey. Picture: PA
Children were among the group
Children were among the group. Picture: PA

It comes days after Border Force intercepted what is thought to be the highest number of migrants in a single day amid warnings the closure of a French camp could prompt a spike in Channel crossings.

Some 86 men, women and children attempted the journey in small boats on Tuesday, with some managing to land on beaches before being detained.

Refugee charity Care4Calais warned the imminent closure of a gym in Dunkirk, where up to 1,000 migrants are living, is likely to prompt a spike in crossing attempts.

On Friday morning, French police officers - including some apparently armed with tear gas guns - cordoned off the road by an area of wasteland and woodland on the outskirts of the port town of Calais, telling those camping there to leave and move their tents.

The wave of migrant camp evictions and the looming clearance of the Dunkirk gym - currently thought to be housing more than 70 families, many of whom have young children - came after a French court order was issued.

On Friday, the National Crime Agency said six people suspected of being part of organised crime groups smuggling migrants across the Channel in lorries and small boats had been arrested this week.

The number of migrants taken in by UK authorities so far this year is thought to have already passed 1,000.

Many camps in Calais are being cleared, sparking a rise in migrants attempting to cross the Channel
Many camps in France are being cleared, sparking a rise in migrants attempting to cross the Channel. Picture: PA
migrants
It comes days after Border Force intercepted what is thought to be the highest number of migrants in a single day. Picture: PA

A Home Office spokesman said: "We are working closely at all levels with the French authorities to tackle this dangerous and illegal activity.

"In addition, Border Force cutters are patrolling the Channel and we have deployed equipment to detect migrant activity.

"Last month, the Home Secretary and her French counterpart agreed to intensify joint action to tackle small boat crossings in the Channel.

"This includes drawing up an enhanced action plan to deploy more resources along the French coast to intercept and stop crossings."

Border Force cutters are continuing to patrol the Channel while drones, CCTV and night vision goggles are used.

Last month, Home Secretary Priti Patel said urgent action was needed to put a stop to the tide of crossings, after she met French interior minister Christophe Castaner in Paris.

More detail on the action plan is yet to be released.

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