More than 50 migrants caught attempting English Channel crossing over weekend

HMC Vigilant, a Border Force cutter, has been on patrol in the English Channel Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA

More than 50 migrants have been found in the English Channel travelling towards the UK during the weekend.

Two more incidents were reported involving 32 migrants off the Kent coast on Sunday, the Home Office said, after 20 were found in boats on Saturday.

At 4am on Sunday, Border Force was alerted to a small boat heading towards Dover, the Home Office said.

Six men, two women and five children were found on board.

Then at 9am, the coastguard was told of another boat with 19 people on board which was intercepted by a Border Force cutter.

They all said they were from Iraq or Iran and have been handed over to immigration officials.

Border Force had already been called to two incidents in the Channel the day before.

A group of 11 men, who said they were Iranian, were found at 5.50am on Saturday.

At around 7.50am, six men, two women and a 12-year-old – who said they were from Iraq and Iran – were found on board another boat.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Anyone crossing the Channel in a small boat is taking a huge risk with their life and the lives of their children.

“It is an established principle that those in need of protection should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach, and since January more than 25 people who arrived illegally in the UK in small boats have been returned to Europe.”