Kent

Channel migrants: Four boats intercepted in Channel

Border Force
Image caption Two Border Force cutter vessels were dispatched

Four boats carrying fifty migrants have attempted to cross the English Channel.

Two vessels - each carrying 13 men - were intercepted by Border Force and brought to Dover.

Across the Channel, French authorities rescued 24 migrants after their boats' engines failed.

Tony Eastaugh, the Home Office's director for crime and enforcement, said the UK was "working in tandem with the French and Belgian authorities" to tackle illegal migrant crossings.

At least 41 migrants attempted to cross the Channel on Tuesday, including a boat carrying 14 migrants which sunk off the coast of De Panne, Belgium.

Local mayor Bram Degrieck said he believed it was the first time smugglers had launched from a Belgian beach, suggesting criminals were moving away from France in search of new routes to the UK.

The Home Office said a Border Force officer was to be deployed to Zeebrugge to increase information-sharing with Belgian authorities.

Meanwhile, police in France and the Netherlands arrested 23 people suspected of helping to smuggle about 10,000 Kurdish migrants to the UK in refrigerated lorries and small rubber boats, law enforcement agency Eurojust said.

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