Campaign to persuade illegal immigrants to leave UK

A campaign to encourage illegal immigrants to leave voluntarily has been launched in six London boroughs.

Vans displaying large adverts, as well as leaflets, posters and messages in local newspapers will be used to urge immigrants to return home.

The campaign, launched in Barnet, Hounslow, Barking and Dagenham, Ealing, Brent and Redbridge, will warn of enforcement action if they stay.

Immigrants will be shown a text number they can message to arrange a return.

'An alternative'

Immigration Minister Mark Harper said: "Every single day our enforcement officers are arresting, detaining and removing people with no right to be in the UK.

"But there is an alternative to being led away in handcuffs.

"Help and advice can be provided to those who cooperate and return home voluntarily."

The areas were chosen because they have either significantly above or below average numbers of voluntary returns, meaning it is hoped the success of the pilot can be assessed.

Material has also been distributed in areas where illegal migrants are known to frequent, including newsagents, money transfer shops and internet cafes.