Migrants in English Channel intercepted by UK and French patrols

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Authorities were alerted to a small boat travelling towards the UK off the coast at Dover.

A Border Force cutter vessel heads out of the Port of Dover in Kent (Gareth Fuller/PA Wire)

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

Authorities were alerted to a small boat travelling towards the UK off the coast at Dover in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Dozens of migrants have sought to travel across Channel this week, despite warnings from authorities against crossing the busy shipping lanes and dangerous waters.

At around 5.30am, a Border Force vessel was called to assist a boat entering UK waters, which was carrying a group of 26 males and two females who have presented themselves as Pakistani, Afghan, Iraqi, Iranian and Syrian nationals.

The group was taken to Dover, where they were medically assessed, before being interviewed by immigration officials.

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.


Across the Channel, the French coastguard said it was alerted to a group of migrants near the seaside resort of Stella Plage, near Le Touquet in northern France, in the early hours of Saturday morning.

At around 1.55am, the eight migrants were found in a boat with a damaged engine, according to Premar Manche, which monitors the Channel.

The group was taken to Boulogne-sur-Mer at 5.10am with mild hypothermia, before being handed over to border police, according to the coastguard.

A group of 12 migrants, 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 migrants were intercepted off the coast of Calais.

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

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