Search and rescue operations launched in Channel amid wave of migrant crossings

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Search and rescue operations have been launched along the Kent coast, according to the coastguard, amid a wave of migrant crossings of the English Channel.

While Border Force is responding to a “number of incidents” out at sea, Kent Police said that eight people suspected of getting out of a dinghy on the shore at Kingsdown have been passed to immigration officers on Saturday morning.

Coastguard rescue teams were sent from Folkestone and Deal to help with the operations on Saturday morning.

Migrant Channel crossing incidents
A Border Force boat carrying a family of suspected migrants earlier this week (Gareth Fuller/PA)

She added: “HM Coastguard has been coordinating a search and rescue response to a number of incidents on the Kent coast, working with Border Force, Kent Police and other partners.”

By Friday more than 220 migrants, including at least 40 children, had been intercepted by UK and French authorities since Thursday last week.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said on Friday that urgent action is needed to tackle the migrant crisis in the Channel, adding that plans are being drawn up “immediately” to deal with the problem.

Her comments came following a meeting with French interior minister Christophe Castaner in Paris on Thursday, where the pair agreed to step up resources to intercept and stop the wave of crossings in small boats.

Priti Patel
Priti Patel held a meeting with her French counterpart earlier this week to discuss the migrant crossings (Toby Melville/PA)

Last week Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned illegal migrants they would be sent back if they risked crossing the Channel.

He said: “If you come illegally, you are an illegal immigrant and I’m afraid the law will treat you as such.”

The Home Office have been approached for comment.

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