Dozens of migrants rescued as UK Border Force intercepts five boats

Migrants attempting to cross the English Channel have increased despite winter weather

DOVER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 29: Uk Border Force boats patrol Dover Harbour as British immigration minister Caroline Nokes visits Uk Border force staff at Dover Marina on December 29, 2018 in Dover, England. The growing number of migrants attempting to cross the English Channel has been declared a "major incident" by UK home secretary Sajid Javid. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
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More than 60 migrants were brought ashore in the British port town of Dover on Tuesday after being intercepted by patrol boats while crossing the English Channel.

Border Force vessels intercepted five boats throughout the night carrying 69 people from Iraq, Iran and Uzbekistan.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged during the election campaign to cut net migration into Britain but 2019 has seen record numbers of migrants attempt to reach the UK by boat from Europe.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Those attempting to cross the Channel in small boats are putting their lives in grave danger and the ruthless criminals who facilitate crossings do not care about the risk to life,” said a Home Office spokesman. “We are working closely at all levels with the French authorities to tackle this dangerous and illegal activity.”

The spokesperson said that patrols on French beaches had also been doubled amid “intensified” action to disrupt criminal gangs.

Numbers of small boat crossings have risen despite the wintry weather. The rescued migrants were given medical checks and interviewed by immigration officials.

In the last major crossing attempt, 79 migrants, including children, were picked up on December 4.

In November, the UK’s Border Force intercepted four boats carrying 39 Iranian migrants and in September a record 86 migrants crossed the Channel in six separate boats.