Home / UK / Channel crossing interceptions prompt UK-France talks – The Guardian

Channel crossing interceptions prompt UK-France talks – The Guardian

The home secretary, Priti Patel, is to hold talks with her French counterpart after dozens of people were intercepted this week while attempting to cross the Channel.

At least 37 people, including six children, were picked up in the Channel from a number of small boats while trying to reach the south coast of England on Thursday.

Four children were also among 24 people detained by police and handed over to the Border Force after two boats landed at Winchelsea beach near Rye in East Sussex.

There was concern for the welfare of several other people, which police say could include a family with children and who may have left the beach after their arrival.

The chief inspector of Sussex police, Anita Turner, said: “We want to make sure that these people are safely ashore and that they are OK.”

A Home Office spokeswoman said crossing the Channel in a small boat was a huge risk and that “the criminal gangs who perpetuate this are ruthless and do not care about loss of life”.

“We have three Border Force cutters in the Channel and a joint action plan with France in place, including a coordination centre in Calais which assists with preventing illegal attempts to cross the border,” she said, adding that Patel would meet her French counterpart in the coming days.

French authorities on Thursday reportedly picked up two dinghies carrying 19 adults, 10 children and a baby.

On the British side, the Home Office said the Border Force was alerted at 2.30am on Thursday to a small boat travelling towards the English coast. Eight men and one woman, who all said they were Iranian nationals, were found and taken to Dover.

At 5am, a Border Force cutter intercepted another small boat and a group of 11 male passengers, which was said to include two children and people who presented themselves as nationals of Iran, Guinea, Kuwait and the Ivory Coast.

Two hours later, six men, who said they were Iranian nationals, were spotted on a small boat and taken to Dover. A later incident, at 11.30am, involved the Border Force intercepting a vessel with a group of 11 people, including four children. All claimed to be Iranian nationals.

Channel crossing interceptions prompt UK-France talks – The Guardian

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