Up to 70 child migrants set to be moved to 'respite facility' in Devon

Child in Calais Image copyright Anthony Devlin/Associated Press
Image caption The Calais migrant camp, known as the Jungle, will be demolished on Monday

Up to 70 child migrants from the Jungle camp in Calais are expected to arrive at a temporary Home Office "respite facility", the BBC has learnt.

The group are due to be brought to a hostel in the countryside near Great Torrington, Devon on Sunday or Monday.

The children will be transported from Croydon, south London, where they were taken from the Jungle camp by a private security company.

The Home Office said they are unaccompanied, vulnerable children.

It is not clear if the children are among a group that arrived under the "Dubs amendment" which grants refuge to particularly vulnerable individuals, such as those who are unaccompanied and without family ties in the UK.

The purpose of the temporary facility is to provide a safe and welcoming place before the children are reunited with family members or moved to other parts of the country, Devon Country Council said.

'Emergency response'

The council said it is working with the police, NHS and other local authorities as part of the "emergency response".

"These will be vulnerable young people," Councillor James McInnes said. "They will be frightened and they will be exhausted, and we as an authority have a statutory responsibility to support those that present in Devon."

Dozens of private security guards will accompany the group. A source told the BBC most of those expected in Devon are over 16 years old.

Geoffrey Cox, Conservative MP for Torridge and West Devon, said the move will not be a "permanent institution".

"The majority of the children will only be here for a few days," he said.

"They will be under 18 and there is no question of anyone over 18 coming."

The Home Office declined to comment on the details of the transfer, but added the children were often traumatised and their privacy should be respected as they received support to rebuild their lives.

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