Kent

Channel migrant boat off Dover held 34 people

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Media captionMigrants intercepted trying to cross the English Channel

A group of 34 migrants have been brought ashore after the Border Force intercepted a boat in the Channel.

The group of people, whose nationalities are not yet known, were brought to shore at Dover by a coastal patrol vessel and given blankets.

Three men have been arrested on suspicion of immigration offences, a Home Office spokesman said.

The group, including men, women and children, have been medically assessed and are believed to be well.

All have been transferred to immigration officials for interview, the Home Office said.

Image caption The small boat the migrants had been found in was brought to Dover

The government has confirmed one of the two Border Force boats redeployed from overseas to patrol the Channel in response to recent migrant crossings is already in operation, while the second boat is still en route,

The spokesman said: "Since the Home Secretary declared a major incident in December we have tripled the number of cutters operating in the Channel, agreed a joint action plan with France and increased activity out of the Joint Coordination and Information Centre in Calais.

"The number of individuals attempting to cross the Channel decreased from around 250 in December to around 90 in January, with roughly half of the January attempts being intercepted by partners in France before they could make it to British waters."

Image caption One of two Border Force cutters redeployed to the Channel is now in use, the government said

The Border Force was alerted to the boat heading to the UK coast at about 06:30 GMT.

It was intercepted by two Border Force cutters and a coastal patrol vessel. Those on board were brought to shore in two groups.

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