Boats carrying 20 migrants intercepted off Kent coast

Boats carrying 20 migrants have been found off the Kent coast.

Border Force officials were called to two incidents in the English Channel on Saturday, the Home Office said.

A cutter intercepted a boat carrying 11 men, who said they were Iranian, at 5.50am. They were handed over to immigration officials.

At around 7.50am, a cutter was called to another boat in the Channel and a group of nine migrants – six men, two women and a 12-year-old – were found on board.

The group, who said they were from Iraq and Iran, were taken to Dover and also handed over to immigration officials.

A Home Office spokesman said: “Anyone crossing the Channel in a small boat is taking a huge risk with their life and the lives of their children.

“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 25 people who arrived illegally in the UK in small boats have been returned to Europe.”