UK Politics

Record 235 migrants intercepted in English Channel in one day

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A record 235 migrants were intercepted trying to cross the English Channel on Thursday, officials have confirmed.

Border Force officials were scrambled to 17 separate incidents off the Kent coast involving a total of 235 people, a spokesman said.

UK authorities intend to return as many of the migrants as possible, with several flights organised in the "coming days", immigration minister Chris Philp added.

He told Sky News: "I share the anger and frustration of the public at the appalling number of crossings we have seen.

"The crossings are totally unacceptable and unnecessary as France is a safe country. We have to make the route completely unviable. Then migrants will have no incentive to come to northern France or attempt the crossing in the first place."

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Image: Men, pregnant women and children were among those rescued

Two people smugglers were charged last weekend in relation to illegal crossings, he added.

At least seven rubber dinghies and a kayak were seen being towed into Dover harbour on Thursday.

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A freelance photographer in the town said he counted more than 120 men, women and children, including a baby, being taken off Border Force vessels and a lifeboat.

Elsewhere along the Kent coast, at least one small boat made it ashore, landing people on Dungeness beach.

Photographer Susan Pilcher said the group consisted of 16 people, including young children.

She said: "They were sitting down in groups, some lying on the ground. There looked to be three family groups, mum, dad and kids and then two separate men on their own."

Ms Pilcher added that she believes the number of migrants now reaching the English coast has increased in recent weeks.

She continued: "It seems to be going absolutely crazy. I think it has certainly got worse.

"Before it used to be just men. Now we are seeing more women and children, even pregnant women."

A pregnant woman walks near the coast of Dungeness after arriving in the UK. Pic: Susan Pilcher
Image: A pregnant woman walks near the coast of Dungeness after arriving in the UK. Pic: Susan Pilcher

Authorities had been braced for another significant influx of small boat crossings as weather conditions between France and England improve over the next few days.

Yesterday's numbers overtake last week's single-day record when 202 migrants were found and taken into Dover.

Around 3,800 migrants have reached UK waters since the beginning of the year.

Moment migrants found hiding in car roof box
British family find migrants in their car roof box

The Home Affairs Select Committee, led by Labour MP Yvette Cooper, says it will get to the bottom of why the number of small boat crossings is on the rise.

It also wants to look Read More – Source