Another 23 migrants intercepted in English Channel by UK Border Force

A further 23 migrants have been intercepted by the Border Force in the English Channel, bringing the weekend total for arrivals to almost 40.

Border Force cutter HMC Vigilant and Coastal Patrol Vessel (CPV) Hunter were dispatched at around 11.30pm on Sunday to 15 people that were on board a rigid-hulled inflatable boat.

Just four and a half hours later on Monday, at around 4am, HMC Vigilant and CPV Hunter were deployed to help another eight people spotted on board a small boat.

Once located off the coast of Kent, all 23 migrants were taken to Dover, medically assessed and transferred to immigration officials for questioning.

It comes after 16 migrants, all male and most of whom claimed to be Iranian, were detained when three small boats landed on UK shores on Sunday.

Three rigid-hulled inflatable boats in Dover thought to have been used to transport migrants (Gareth Fuller/PA)

The latest incidents follow a recent rise in the number of migrants attempting to cross the English Channel from France in small boats.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid cut short his Christmas break last month to deal with what he described as a “major incident” unfolding in waters off the south coast.

Mr Javid has promised to do more to tackle the issue, saying it is of “grave concern” that people are attempting the perilous crossing.

Two Border Force cutters that have been operating abroad are due to be brought back to Britain to help patrol the English Channel, in a measure announced by Mr Javid on December 31.

- Press Association

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