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Downing St defends illegal immigrants poster campaign

Downing Street has defended a controversial poster campaign aimed at encouraging illegal immigrants to leave the UK.

It comes despite the initiative being condemned by the Business Secretary Vince Cable who described the measure as "stupid and offensive".

The pilot scheme features billboards on vans telling illegal immigrants to go home. Credit: ITN

The Prime Minister's spokesman said: "We know that voluntary returns are the most cost effective way of removing illegal immigrants. This is a pilot that is currently running. It is about targeting those who are here illegally and it is working."

He also said the Home Office had received a "good deal of interest" in the pilot, but did not clarify whether that meant illegal immigrants had been handing themselves in.