More than 200 migrants picked up in English Channel

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Border Force patrol boatImage source, Leon Neal
Image caption,
More than 1,468 migrants made the crossing by small boat in August

More than 200 migrants were intercepted off the Kent coast by Border Force vessels on Monday.

The 223 people were picked up in 18 small boats, the Home Office has confirmed.

A further eight boats with 106 people on board were stopped by the French authorities from making the crossing, a Home Office spokesman said.

On Sunday 21 migrants reached the UK in two boats, with a further six people being rescued by the French.

Last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK had become "a target and a magnet for those who would exploit vulnerable people".

More than 1,468 migrants made the crossing by small boat in August despite a vow from Home Secretary Priti Patel to make the dangerous route "unviable".

The Home Office does not provide information on how many children are making the crossing on small boats.

Channel crossings by migrants in small boats. Number of people reaching the UK each month since August 2019.  Figures include migrants intercepted in the English Channel or detained by Border Force after reaching the UK.

Dan O'Mahoney, clandestine Channel threat commander, said: "These crossings are facilitated by criminals willing to risk people's lives for money.

"France is a safe country with a fully functioning asylum system - those seeking refuge can and should claim asylum there.

"I recognise the number still reaching the UK remains too high," he said.

Last week Mr O'Mahoney told the Home Affairs Select Committee the French authorities were "just as committed" as the UK to stopping migrants crossing the Channel in small boats.

He told the committee many migrants were being forced on to small boats, and some who arrived in England "don't even want to come to the UK".

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