Fifty migrants intercepted attempting to cross English Channel

22 January 2020, 19:36

File photo: Border Force intercepted two boats in the Channel on Wednesday
File photo: Border Force intercepted two boats in the Channel on Wednesday. Picture: PA

By Megan White

Fifty migrants have been intercepted as they attempted to cross the busy shipping lanes of the English Channel.

Border Force encountered 26 people on Wednesday morning travelling in two separate boats, the Home Office has confirmed.

With air temperatures as low as 3C, Border Force were alerted to a small boat in the Channel at about 7.39am.

A Border Force cutter was despatched and met the 13 migrants - all men - near Dover.

All were brought ashore and one man was taken to hospital for medical assessment.

Later, at about 10.40am, a second boat was intercepted and 13 men were brought ashore.

Earlier in the day, French authorities confirmed that 24 migrants had been intercepted on the other side of the Channel and taken to French ports.

Tony Eastaugh, Home Office director for crime & enforcement, said: "We are tackling illegal migrant crossings on all fronts with every agency including Border Force, Immigration Enforcement, NCA and policing teams working in tandem with the French and Belgian authorities.

"We have extra patrols on French beaches, drones, specialist vehicles and detection equipment which has been deployed to stop small boats leaving European shores.

"And it's working. Last year one hundred people smugglers were convicted for a total of 320 years."

The Home Office has also announced that a Border Force officer will soon be based in Zeebrugge in Belgium to support information sharing with Belgian law enforcement.