Seven migrant boats spotted off Kent coast and one lands undetected

‘Record number’ of migrant boats are spotted off the Kent coast as ‘seven are intercepted and one manages to land without being picked up’

  • More than 30 migrants picked up near Winchelsea beach by Border Force
  • One of eight boats was not spotted by officials and landed undetected
  • Charlie Elphicke MP said latest arrival was a ‘record’ for boats in a single day 

A ‘record number’ of migrant boats were spotted off the Kent coast this morning as more than 30 people were picked up by Border Force officials. 

It is understood the migrants arrived near Winchelsea beach in as many as eight small boats and were brought to shore. 

One of the boats, which had eight migrants on board, managed to arrive on the coast without being picked up by the Border Force.

A ‘record number’ of migrant boats were spotted off the Kent coast this morning as more than 30 people were picked up by Border Force officials. Above: officials responding this morning

Responding to reports of the possibility eight boats have arrived, Charlie Elphicke, MP for Dover and Deal, said: ‘If confirmed this would be a record number of boats arriving in a single day.

‘This crisis was meant to have been dealt with at Christmas, yet numbers continue to rise. It looks set to surge to record levels through the summer.

‘The Home Office needs to get a grip on this crisis.

‘This is about much more than simply border security. It is about the exploitation of vulnerable people by criminal trafficking gangs – gangs that Britain and France must work together to catch and bring to justice.

‘These journeys are incredibly dangerous. Overcrowded boats with men, women and children aboard. The risk of tragedy in the middle of the English Channel resulting in loss of life is very real. This is why the Home Office & France must act now to bring this crisis to an end.’ 

A spokesman for the Home Office said: ‘Border Force is currently dealing with ongoing small boat incidents off the Kent coast. 

Further details will be provided once the situation has been resolved.’

The number of migrants picked up trying to cross the Channel in May was higher than the figure in December – when the Home Secretary declared a ‘major incident’ and ordered two Border Force boats to be redeployed to deal with attempted crossings. 

In total, 140 migrants arrived in the month of May alone.    

Eight migrants were found in a boat in the channel seven days ago heading towards the Kent coast. 

It is understood the migrants arrived near Winchelsea beach in as many as eight small boats and were brought to shore (file photo)  

They were taken to immigration centres.

The week before, a further 52 migrants were intercepted by border force boats, again off the Kent coast. 

More than 30 migrants have been returned to Europe so far this year after they were caught trying to enter the country by boat.   

Speaking after last week’s incident, a Home Office spokesperson said: ‘Anyone crossing the Channel in a small boat is taking a huge risk with their life.

‘Since the home secretary declared a major incident in December, two cutters have returned to UK waters from overseas operations, we have agreed a joint action plan with France and increased activity out of the Joint Coordination and Information Centre in Calais.

‘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 30 people who arrived illegally in the UK in small boats have been returned to elsewhere in Europe.’

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