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  1. ITV Report

Rising migrant Channel crossing attempts declared major incident as Home Secretary Sajid Javid calls on French to act

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has demanded an urgent call with his French counterpart to deal with the rising number of migrants attempting to cross the English Channel.

It comes after two inflatable boats carrying 12 men from Syria and Iran were intercepted in the crossing between England and France on Friday morning, the latest in a spate of festive attempts.

Mr Javid declared the rising number of crossing bids a "major incident" as he called on France to take action.

ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen reported the government is weighing up whether to enhance its border control force.

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The home secretary earlier held a conference call with officials in the Border Force, Immigration Enforcement and the National Crime Agency (NCA) where he was briefed on the latest intelligence and action being taken.

On Friday morning Border Force officials brought the dozen men to shore at Dover and handed them over to immigration officials to be interviewed.

Sajid Javid has demanded an urgent call with the French government. Credit: PA

An inflatable boat, carrying one Syrian and three Iranians, was reported to the Coastguard at around 3am.

At around 9am a second boat, which was carrying eight Iranians, was also spotted.

An inflatable boat was brought ashore on Friday morning.

On Christmas Day more than 40 migrants tried to cross the sea and enter the UK.

Boxing Day saw three more migrants intercepted in a small boat and on Thursday an inflatable boat carrying nine people was rescued by a lifeboat crew three miles off the coast of Sandgate in Kent.

Border Force patrol boats are on alert for Christmas period crossings. Credit: PA

Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes will visit Border Force officers in Dover on Saturday, alongside Dover MP Charlie Elphicke, to discuss the situation.

Prior to Mr Javid's announcement, Ms Nokes branded the number of migrants crossing the Channel as “deeply concerning”.

Speaking after the incident on Thursday, she said: "Some of this is clearly facilitated by organised crime groups while other attempts appear to be opportunistic.

“We are in close and continual contact with the French authorities and law enforcement partners including through the new UK-France Coordination and Information Centre which opened in Calais at the end of last month to tackle criminality at the border.

Caroline Nokes said the number of migrants attempting to cross the Channel is concerning Credit: Kirsty O’Connor/PA

“Attempting to cross the Channel in this way is extremely dangerous and they are putting their lives at risk.

“People should also be in no doubt that border Force and the Police Aux Frontiers are working together 24 hours a day to prevent attempts, protect life and prosecute offenders.

“At the same time, the UK’s NCA-led Organised Immigration Taskforce is working to stop people smuggling at source.”