Kent

Channel migrants: Six children among 22 people in boats

Dinghy at St Margaret's Bay Image copyright Charlie Elphicke
Image caption Border Force seized the rigid-hulled inflatable boat

Immigration officials are questioning 22 migrants who crossed the Channel in two dinghies in the early hours.

Border Force was called to St Margarets Bay in Dover, Kent, at about 04:00 BST and found six people, including two children, on the beach. An empty dinghy was found nearby.

An hour later, a second boat carrying four children, five women and seven men was intercepted off the coast of Kent.

All were medically assessed and found to be well, the Home Office said.

Dover MP Charlie Elphicke, who photographed the abandoned dinghy, said the "very expensive" outboard motor - which costs in excess of £2,600 - "underlines how lucrative this business is and the people traffickers behind this are making tens of thousands of pounds".

At least 827 people, including about 80 children, have crossed the Channel in small boats since 3 November 2018.

Last month, immigration minister Caroline Nokes said the government had "recently delivered drones and other surveillance equipment to France enabling their law enforcement officers to interrupt and disrupt attempted crossings".

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