Migrants land on Kent beach in rubber dinghy after crossing the Channel

14 September 2020, 12:10 | Updated: 14 September 2020, 14:21

Migrants make off at speed as dinghy lands at Kent beach

By Maddie Goodfellow

A rubber dinghy packed with migrants has been seen landing on a beach in Kent after crossing the Channel.

About 10 people were on board the small boat as it was pictured approaching the shingle beach on Monday morning.

They were heard shouting out as the vessel neared the shore and ran aground at Kingsdown, near Dover.

As the dinghy ground to a halt, they were seen leaping out and running across the beach towards some scattered trees.

Kent Police and immigration enforcement officers were also seen in the area.

More boats carrying migrants are also believed to have crossed the English Channel on Monday.

Border Force and French patrols have been active in the Dover Strait since the early hours of the morning.

The group of men, believed to be migrants, arriving in the UK
The group of men, believed to be migrants, arriving in the UK. Picture: PA

The latest crossings come after hundreds of people managed to reach the UK on Friday, with thousands making the hazardous journey since the start of 2020.

The group of suspected migrants, who appeared to all be men, arrived squeezed on board a grey dinghy with a black outboard motor on the back.

Many wore hoodies and one was seen carrying a backpack as they headed off from the shoreline at speed.

Later, the dinghy was seen being towed back out to sea where it was taken on board Border Force cutter Seeker, which arrived in the area soon after the landings.

In Kingsdown village centre, Kent Police and coastguard officials were seen talking to members of the public following the landing.

Six miles down the coast, more migrants were brought into the port of Dover.

People wearing blankets and lifejackets were seen aboard Border Force patrol boat Hunter before being escorted up a gangway.

Once ashore they will be processed and assessed for symptoms of Coronavirus, in line with protocol.

The PA news agency, which tracks and analyses migrant crossings, understands that more than 6,100 migrants have successfully crossed to the UK in small boats this year.

This is despite Home Secretary Priti Patel's vow to make the route "unviable", and the continued row between the Home Office and the legal profession on how to tackle the crossings.

More than 6,100 migrants are believed to have made the crossing into the UK
More than 6,100 migrants are believed to have made the crossing into the UK. Picture: PA

It comes as huge numbers of people took advantage of sunshine and calm seas to cross to the UK from northern France over the weekend.

At least 319 people travelling in 27 boats made the dangerous crossing, according to the Home Office.

Border Force vessels were active in the Channel all day as they and partners were constantly on the lookout for boats crossing from continental Europe.

The operation was co-ordinated by the coastguard, with the RNLI also working to help preserve lives.

Dozens of people wrapped in blankets and wearing lifejackets were seen being taken into the port of Dover.

After a lull in people attempting the dangerous crossing over the last few days, crossings resumed in large numbers amid low winds.

The suspected migrants were seen being escorted up the gangway to the harbourside, where were processed by immigration officials.

With so many arriving at one time, many had to wait on board the Border Force boats until they were allowed to go ashore.

One Border Force rib was later seen towing four dinghies into the harbour, which are believed to have been used by the migrants.

Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, Dan O'Mahoney, said: "This morning I was out on a cutter in the Channel working with Border Force officers dealing with these boats.

"The unseaworthy vessels I saw provided further evidence that these crossings, so often facilitated by criminals, are risking people's lives.

"We are working with the French to make this route completely unviable, and this morning the French prevented more people from embarking on this perilous journey - but we know the numbers arriving are still too high.

"These migrants are leaving France, which is a safe country.

"Those seeking refuge can and should claim asylum there, rather than attempting these dangerous crossings to the UK."

On the other side of the Dover Strait, French police reportedly saved the life of a young migrant who could not swim.

Officers jumped into the water to save the young Iranian, who had fallen from his boat, according to France Bleu Nord.

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