More than a hundred migrants trying to cross the English Channel were picked up by UK authorities on Friday, February 07, the UK Home Office has announced.
The 102 migrants were believed to be the highest number intercepted by police and Border Force during a single day on record.
Five inflated boats were seized, according to the Home Office, while French authorities have also detained a further 30 people.
The crossings came after 90 people were picked up on Thursday, as the UK braced for winds of up to 80mph and heavy rain from Storm Ciara this weekend.
The individuals who were stopped by Border Force on Friday claimed to be from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria, the Home Office said.
Nine people managed to get to a beach in Kent, where they were detained by police, while others were intercepted at sea.
The English Channel is the world’s busiest shipping lane, with 500 to 600 ships passing through the narrow strait every day.
Natalie Elphicke, Conservative MP for Dover & Deal, has called for an explanation from the French authorities for how the boats made it across the Channel.
“These are serious security lapses and we need an urgent explanation from the French as to what they are doing to get a grip on this situation,” she said.
On Friday, Border Force dealt with six incidents after being alerted that there were small boats heading towards the UK.
In the first incident, at about 1am on Friday, a Border Force vessel intercepted an inflatable boat which was carrying a group of 32 people – 26 men and six women – who presented themselves as Iranian and Iraqi nationals.
In the five other incidents, which occurred between about 2.45am and 11am, groups of between nine and 23 people were intercepted by authorities. (Source: Independent UK)