Kent

Charges over Channel migrant boat picked up off Dover

Border Force patrol boat Image copyright Leon Neal
Image caption Eight boats with more than 70 people on board were intercepted on Saturday

A man has been charged with people smuggling after a boat with six people on board including a child was picked up off the Kent coast.

Samyar Ahmadi Bani, 35, of no fixed UK address, was among those found on the boat intercepted by a Border Force vessel at 07:25 BST on Saturday.

All six said they were Iranian and were taken to Dover where they were handed over to immigration officials.

Mr Bani was arrested in Barking in East London on Tuesday.

He was charged with assisting unlawful immigration into the UK and appeared at Folkestone Magistrates' Court on Thursday.

He was remanded in custody and is due to appear at Canterbury Crown Court on 8 July.

'Major incident'

The government has confirmed 74 people were intercepted on Saturday as they crossed the English Channel on eight boats.

At least 716 people, including about 70 children, have crossed the Channel in small boats since 3 November 2018.

Last month, 140 migrants were picked up - the highest number since December, when a "major incident" was declared by Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

A Home Office spokesman said: "Since January, more than 30 people who entered the UK illegally on small boats have been returned to Europe."

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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