A ‘record number’ of migrant boats were spotted off the Kent coast this morning as more than 30 people were picked up by Border Force officials.
It is understood the migrants arrived near Winchelsea beach in as many as eight small boats and were brought to shore.
One of the boats, which had eight migrants on board, managed to arrive on the coast without being picked up by the Border Force.
A group of 30 migrants on several boats were intercepted this morning attempting to cross the English Channel by UK Border Force
Officials interviewed the group which included men, women and children, after they were safely brought ashore having been found off the coast of Kent
The group made the crossing on several inflatable boats, pictured, from the French coast
A ‘record number’ of migrant boats were spotted off the Kent coast this morning as more than 30 people were picked up by Border Force officials. Above: officials responding this morning
Responding to reports of the possibility eight boats have arrived, Charlie Elphicke, MP for Dover and Deal, said: ‘If confirmed this would be a record number of boats arriving in a single day.
‘This crisis was meant to have been dealt with at Christmas, yet numbers continue to rise. It looks set to surge to record levels through the summer.
‘The Home Office needs to get a grip on this crisis.
‘This is about much more than simply border security. It is about the exploitation of vulnerable people by criminal trafficking gangs – gangs that Britain and France must work together to catch and bring to justice.
‘These journeys are incredibly dangerous. Overcrowded boats with men, women and children aboard. The risk of tragedy in the middle of the English Channel resulting in loss of life is very real. This is why the Home Office and France must act now to bring this crisis to an end.’
A spokesman for the Home Office said: ‘Border Force is currently dealing with ongoing small boat incidents off the Kent coast.
Further details will be provided once the situation has been resolved.’
The number of migrants picked up trying to cross the Channel in May was higher than the figure in December – when the Home Secretary declared a ‘major incident’ and ordered two Border Force boats to be redeployed to deal with attempted crossings.
In total, 140 migrants arrived in the month of May alone.
Eight migrants were found in a boat in the channel seven days ago heading towards the Kent coast.
Local MP Charlie Elphike claimed this was the largest number of migrant boats intercepted in one day
UK Border Force agents towed in the inflatable boats used by the migrants for the crossing
It is understood the migrants arrived near Winchelsea beach in as many as eight small boats and were brought to shore (file photo)
The group, pictured, took advantage of calm seas to make their bid to enter the UK
A total of 13 boats are believed to have tried to make the crossing to the UK today
The UK Border Force sought the assistance of the Coastguard due to the number of boats
They were taken to immigration centres.
The week before, a further 52 migrants were intercepted by border force boats, again off the Kent coast.
More than 30 migrants have been returned to Europe so far this year after they were caught trying to enter the country by boat.
Speaking after last week’s incident, a Home Office spokesperson said: ‘Anyone crossing the Channel in a small boat is taking a huge risk with their life.
‘Since the home secretary declared a major incident in December, two cutters have returned to UK waters from overseas operations, we have agreed a joint action plan with France and increased activity out of the Joint Coordination and Information Centre in Calais.
Local Conservative MP Charlie Elphike said the Home Office needed to respond to the crisis
These migrants are the first to arrive in June. Last month more than 140 managed to successfully cross the English Channel
‘It is an established principle that those in need of protection should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach and since January more than 30 people who arrived illegally in the UK in small boats have been returned to elsewhere in Europe.’
The coastguard has announced it has been assisting Border Force with 13 migrant boat incidents off the Kent coast this morning.
Coastguard, RNLI, Border Force officers and police have all been working on the operation.
A HM Coastguard spokesman said: ‘HM Coastguard is committed to safeguarding life around the seas and coastal areas of this country. We are only concerned with preservation of life, rescuing those in trouble and bringing them safely back to shore, where they will be handed over to the relevant partner emergency services or authorities.
‘We have been assisting Border Force with 13 incidents off the Kent coast this morning.’
A spokesman for Kent Police said: ‘Kent Police was notified by Border Force at 6.20am that a vessel with suspected migrants on board had been intercepted off the coast of Dover.
‘Officers are currently in attendance to provide support to Border Force.’
Officials handed out blankets and bottles of water to the migrants following their ordeal
The migrants were given medical checks before they were processed by officials
The Home Office confirmed the Border Force was dealing with a number of ‘small boat incidents’ in the English Channel