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  1. ITV Report

Hidden camera captures the moment nine migrants start their perilous journey from Calais to Dover

Thermal imaging filmed by ITV News has captured the moment nine men set off from Calais to cross the English channel.

The film shows the small group of men making their way through the sand dunes to a remote beach 20 miles west of Calais.

An ITV News team that has spent months tracking the movement of migrants attempting to reach the UK has learned they were being forced down the coast away from Calais.

The nine individuals including eight Iranians and an Afghan, were rescued by the UK Border Agency on Wednesday morning.

They were reported to French authorities shortly after the boat set off but it wasn't until they were in British waters that they were detained.

Eight of the men are being questioned by immigration officials while the ninth has been arrested on suspicion of facilitating illegal entry into the UK.

  • ITV News Correspondent Angus Walker reports that there are "private doubts" that some in France are "somehow turning a blind eye to migrants heading towards the British coast, and they could be doing more to stop migrants in their own waters".

A hidden camera shows remarkable scenes of the men pumping air into their dinghy, which they've spent more than £3,000 to buy.

One man helping with the getaway was seen to have crutches as the group discussed the power of the wave they would face on their journey.

Reporting six miles away from Dover, ITV News Correspondent Angus Walker asked the group why they wanted to come to the UK.

"Freedom" they shouted over the noise of the waves and boats.

The migrants claim they are escaping persecution in their own countries and are seeking asylum.

They are the latest in a number of groups caught crossing to the UK coast.

ITV News Correspondent Angus Walker, who witnessed the "huge operation", said the group included individuals who were unwell.

He said: "One of them unwell and also very thirsty, very hungry and very unsure of what would happen to them when the Border Force first arrived."

A lifeboat from Dover, two UK Border Force vessels and a French coast guard vessel helped with rescuing the nine individuals.