10-year-old among migrants detained after landing on Kent beach

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A group of 12 migrants including a 10-year-old child have been detained after landing on a Kent beach, the Home Office said.

Nine men, two women and the child are believed to have arrived at Greatstone in a black dinghy on Monday morning.

Witnesses described seeing a large police presence along the quiet stretch of coastline.

Chris Matcham said: “I was driving towards New Romney this morning with my sister when a police car came haring past us along the road.

“We then saw the police car and van on the sea side of the road a bit further down.

“We saw what we suspected were immigrants standing by the van on the pavement. I think we saw four or five but couldn’t see for sure as we were driving past.

“Then I went for a walk 30 minutes later and lots of police helicopters were flying overhead. The dinghy was empty and the migrants were gone.

“The police van was gone, too.”

Sajid Javid
Sajid Javid (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

A Home Office spokesman said: “Border Force was contacted by Kent Police at around 8.25am today, Monday 31 December.

“Border Force officers were deployed to assist with a group of 12 migrants at Greatstone, Kent.

“The group consisted of nine men, two women and a 10-year-old child. They have presented themselves as Iranian nationals.

“They all received a medical assessment and have now been transferred to immigration officials for interview.”

The latest incident comes after Home Secretary Sajid Javid cut short a family holiday in South Africa to return to the UK to deal with the migrant issue, which he declared a major incident.

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