England

Channel migrants: Four boats stopped in three hours

Four boats carrying 39 migrants have been intercepted in the Channel in the space of three hours, the Home Office has confirmed.

The first boat carrying nine people was seen at 04:40 GMT, followed by a vessel carrying five at 06:00 GMT.

At 07:00 GMT a boat with 11 on board was seen and half an hour later a Border Force vessel and Kent Police dealt with a boat carrying 14 people.

All 39 presented themselves as Iranian nationals, a government spokesman said.

Coastguards said search and rescue helicopters from Lydd and Lee-on-Solent were deployed to incidents off Kent and Sussex, along with RNLI lifeboats from Dover, Dungeness and Hastings, as well as two Border Force vessels.

Kent Police said its officers were called just before 07:30 GMT to a report of migrants on board a vessel and the boat was taken to Dungeness, where the group was handed to immigration officials.

The Home Office spokesman said: "Crossing the Channel in a small boat is incredibly dangerous.

"Anyone attempting the journey is taking a huge risk with their life and the lives of their loved ones."

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