Kent

Migrants with child land on Greatstone beach, Kent

National Crime Agency officers examine the abandoned dinghy Image copyright Susan Pilcher
Image caption The group of 12 migrants included a 10-year-old child

Twelve migrants, including a 10-year-old child, have been detained after landing on a Kent beach.

Nine men, two women and the child arrived at Greatstone after crossing the English Channel in a black dinghy.

A Home Office spokesperson said the people "presented themselves" as Iranian nationals after police contacted Border Force officials.

They received a medical assessment and were transferred to immigration officials for interview.

Witnesses described seeing a large police presence along the quiet stretch of coastline.

Image copyright Susan Pilcher
Image caption The group was detained after landing at Greatstone beach, a quiet stretch of coastline

Chris Matcham said: "I was driving towards New Romney this morning with my sister when a police car came haring past us along the road.

"We then saw the police car and van on the sea-side of the road a bit further down.

"We saw what we suspected were immigrants standing by the van on the pavement.

"Then I went for a walk 30 minutes later and lots of police helicopters were flying overhead."

'No easy answers'

Six men, all Iranian nationals, were found on a beach next to an inflatable boat at Kingsdown on Sunday.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid declared a "major incident" on Friday after dozens of people in small boats arrived on the Kent coast over the Christmas period.

More than 230 people have attempted the crossing in small boats since November.

The rising number of migrants crossing the Channel will be discussed by Mr Javid at a meeting with other senior government officials, the Border Force and the National Crime Agency.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Javid said: "The reasons behind the increased crossings are complicated and in many cases outside of our control.

"Unfortunately, this means that there are no easy answers. So our response is focused both here in the UK and abroad."

A note on terminology: The BBC uses the term migrant to refer to all people on the move who have yet to complete the legal process of claiming asylum. This group includes people fleeing war-torn countries, who are likely to be granted refugee status, as well as people who are seeking jobs and better lives, who governments are likely to rule are economic migrants.

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