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Nine suspected migrants found on rocks in Folkestone

The group of nine were found clambering on rocks close to Folkestone Harbour. Credit: Flickr/Loz Pycock

Nine suspected migrants have been found clambering on rocks in Folkestone after apparently crossing the Channel in an inflatable boat.

The group of Iranians called Kent Police at 6.45am on Sunday morning after getting into difficulty close to Folkestone Harbour, and were then taken to Dover by the Coastguard.

The UK Border Force was alerted and said the group will "now be processed in line with the Immigration Rules" and that a "criminal investigation" has begun.

A spokesperson for the Home Office - of which the Border Force is part of - said: "We are alert to the risk posed by people attempting to reach the UK illegally via small boats.

"This year we have increased the number of coastal patrol vessel and, in light of recent events, have stepped up deployments along the south east coast.

"We continue to work closely with law enforcement partners in the UK and overseas to tackle people smuggling at source.

"Nobody should put their life at risk attempting to smuggle themselves into the UK across the Channel.

"Thankfully, this route to the UK remains relatively rare."

Immigration officials on board a stolen French fishing trawler on Tuesday where 17 suspected migrants were found. Credit: ITV Meridian

Sunday's incident is the latest in a string which has seen more than 60 suspected migrants enter the UK via Kent this week.

Some 17 suspected migrants were on board a French fishing boat as it entered the Port of Dover on Tuesday.

While on Wednesday, three boats with 22 suspected migrants, including a toddler, were picked up off the coast of Dover and Ramsgate.

On Friday, a dingy carrying seven people was found at Samphire Hoe, near Dover.

The Home Office said in light of recent events, officers have stepped up deployments along the south east coast.