More than 40 migrants intercepted by Border Force crossing English Channel

More than 40 migrants, including eight children, have been intercepted by the Border Force attempting to cross the English Channel.

The Coastguard helped rescue the occupants of the three boats off the coast at Dover on Tuesday morning.

A total of 12 men, who presented themselves as Iranian, were detained on board a rigid-hulled inflatable boat (Rhib) at about 3.35am.

The second boat, which contained 22 males, who said they were Iraqi, Iranian and Afghan nationals, was intercepted at 4.25am while the third boat was stopped at 7.50am with seven men and two women on board who said they were Iranian nationals.

A Home Office spokesman said: “All those found were taken to Dover, where they were medically assessed, before being transferred to immigration officials to be interviewed.

“Eight of the people from the second boat claimed to be minors and, subject to age assessment, will be transferred into the care of social services. The cases of all 43 people will be dealt with according to the immigration rules.”

The spokesman added that another small boat was intercepted by the French authorities and returned to France.

The spokesman added that 125 migrants who had entered the UK illegally since January 2019 had been returned to Europe.

A Coastguard spokeswoman said: “We are only concerned with preservation of life, rescuing those in trouble and bringing them safely back to shore, where they will be handed over to the relevant partner emergency services or authorities.”

Natalie Elphicke, MP for Dover and Deal, said: “These latest arrivals yet again underline the need for a fresh approach – that anyone picked up in the English Channel is returned to the safety of France."

The incidents come after more than 60 migrants were rescued by the French and British authorities on Sunday.