Police and immigration officials have caught three illegal migrants after launching a search for an estimated six intruders following the discovery of an empty dinghy on the English coast.
The search was launched after the empty vessel was found at around 8 a.m. on a pebble beach in the coastal hamlet of Dungeness in the Kent town of Romney Marsh, the BBC reports.
Her Majesty’s Coastguard found the abandoned dinghy had six lifejackets left inside, personal items, food, and a cut milk bottle suspected to have been used to bail water out of the craft.
There have been dozens of migrant crossings via the Channel in the past two months, with at least 239 illegals travelling from France, most of whom present as Iranian.
A spokesman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency later confirmed that the search had been “stood down,” saying: “HM Coastguard has been coordinating a search at Dungeness in Kent after an empty RHIB was found on the shore around 8.10 a.m. today (7 January).
“Dungeness Coastguard Rescue Team led the beach search and Kent Police has been informed.
“Following an extensive search of the area, HM Coastguard was satisfied that there were no maritime casualties and the search team was stood down.
“HM Coastguard is committed to safeguarding life around the seas and coastal areas of this country.
“We are only concerned with preservation of life, rescuing those in trouble and bringing them safely back to shore, where they will be handed over to the relevant partner emergency services or authorities,” they added.
BBC News later reported that police and border officers later found three of the migrants six miles away in the village of Lydd, wrapped in foil blankets and looking tired. They have been taken to an immigration centre.
The last known migrant landing occurred on New Year’s Eve after 12 mostly male illegals were detained after landing on Greatstone beach also in Romney Marsh.
At least 40 migrants crossed the English Channel on Christmas Day in five separate boats, leading Home Secretary Sajid Javid to designate the migrant crossings a “major incident”.
Last week, Mr Javid provoked the fury of open borders activists by suggesting that the migrants were not genuine asylum seekers as they had travelled from France — a safe country.
The Royal Navy has deployed HMS Mersey to the English Channel to stop migrants making the journey across the world’s busiest waterway, with the Home Office in talks with French counterparts about returning migrants directly to France without assessing their immigration claim in the United Kingdom.
Britain’s ability to simply return them as having travelled from a safe country is complicated by EU regulations which typically require receiving countries to deport illegal migrants to the first EU member-state they entered, rather than the last one they were in.
As well as using dinghies for their crossings, migrants have also been stealing French fishing boats, with French fishermen telling Channel 5 News that attempts to take their vessels are being made on a daily basis.
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