Shelagh Fogarty 1pm - 4pm
Border force intercept 49 migrants crossing English Channel
3 May 2020, 20:07
Forty-nine migrants on board three dinghies were intercepted by Border Force in the early hours of Sunday morning, the Home Office has confirmed.
The 43 male and six female passengers, whose nationalities and medical conditions have not been given, were found sailing towards the Kent coast between 5am and 6am.
The Home Office has said they are being interviewed by immigration officials, as a further 31 people were prevented in France from travelling to the UK.
Minister for immigration compliance Chris Philp said: "We are all working night and day to dismantle and arrest the criminal gangs who trade in people smuggling.
"Criminals are abusing vulnerable men, women and children by trafficking them across the Channel.
"This illegal and criminal activity is subject to heavy law enforcement activity by Border Force, the National Crime Agency, Immigration Enforcement and French law enforcement."
Home Secretary Priti Patel has been in touch with her French counterpart this week to discuss new approaches to tackling the issue and how more migrants can be returned to France, according to the Home Office.
The Government said coronavirus has had no impact on the response to small boat incidents, and Border control staff have PPE available to them.
So far in 2020, over 10 people smugglers have been convicted and put behind bars as a result of Immigration Enforcement investigations.