Kent

Three migrant boats land in Kent after crossing Channel

Folkestone Warren Image copyright Rob Bewick
Image caption An abandoned boat was found on Folkestone's Warren beach

Sixteen migrants have been detained after crossing the Channel to Kent in three boats.

An inflatable dinghy with six men landed on a beach at Kingsdown, near Walmer, at about 07:00 GMT.

Just over an hour later, Border Force officers were called to an abandoned boat on Folkestone's Warren beach, and two men were detained in the town.

At about 09:35, a dinghy containing eight men was intercepted off the coast and escorted into Dover.

The Home Office said most of the migrants presented themselves as Iranian, with others saying they were from Iraq.

They received a medical assessment before being transferred to immigration officials for interview.

Rob Bewick said he saw one of the inflatable boats while walking on the beach between Folkestone and Dover.

"A number of coastguard officials were stood around but there was also someone from UK Border Force," said Mr Bewick, from Folkestone.

""There weren't any people there - it looked as though the boat had been abandoned."

There has been a spike in the number of people crossing the English Channel from France in small boats since November, with many of those trying to reach Britain coming from Iran.

Home Secretary has Sajid Javid declared the situation a "major incident".

On New Year's Eve, he announced two additional Border Force cutters would be brought back to the UK to help deal with the problem.

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