1. ITV Report

Three migrants intercepted overnight as dozens rescued in English Channel

French maritime officials posted this picture of one of the rescues, with eight people on board. Credit: Marine Nationale

Three more migrants have been intercepted as Border Force officials step up their efforts to tackle people smugglers after 40 migrants crossed the Channel towards Britain on Christmas Day.

Authorities were called to five separate instances involving people presenting themselves as Iraqi, Iranian and Afghan yesterday.

A Home Office spokeswoman confirmed that three more migrants were intercepted overnight.

Shortly after midnight, Border Force was made aware that three men on board a small boat, who presented themselves as Iranian, had been rescued by the French authorities near Dover.

The men were transferred to the UK authorities and will be interviewed by immigration officials.

The crossings follow a number of migrant rescues in recent months involving people trying to travel across the Channel to Britain.

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A girl was among eight people who arrived in Folkestone, Kent, at around 2.40am on Christmas Day.

A child was also one of 13 people on board a dinghy assisted by Border Force off the coast of Deal, Kent, shortly before 7am.

Pictures posted by French maritime officials on Twitter show one of the boats being rescued, with eight people on board.

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Separately, a Border Force cutter was deployed at 5.50am on Christmas Day to the Channel to help a dinghy which was travelling towards the UK with seven men and a woman onboard.

All of those involved underwent a medical assessment and the adults have been transferred to immigration officials to be interviewed.

The children will come under the care of social services, officials said.

In another incident in French waters, nine migrants were rescued and are now in the UK after the engine of the vessel they were travelling in failed.

They have been transferred to the Coastguard to be assessed.

Border Force officials are being assisted by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency after being called to an incident in the Channel before 9.20am involving two people in a small boat travelling towards the UK.

All 40 people are now in the UK, the Home Office said.

A spokeswoman said: “Border Force has intercepted a number of boats containing migrants attempting to cross the Channel overnight and this morning, and has deployed resources to deal with these incidents.

“The evidence shows there is organised criminal gang activity behind illegal migration attempts by small boats across the Channel.

“We are working closely with the French and law enforcement partners to target these gangs, who exploit vulnerable people and put lives at risk.”