More than 100 migrants entered the UK by small boat yesterday, admits the Home Office, as the Border Force dealt with six incidents in the Channel including one vessel carrying 35 migrants.
The border authorities were assisted by HM Coastguard and RNLI lifeboats after emergency services received reports of a boat in distress some 23 miles south of Beachy Head, East Sussex.
The migrants were rescued and brought to shore at Sovereign Harbour in Eastbourne with some attending hospital for a welfare check, according to East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust.
Speaking of one incident, a spokesperson for Sussex Police told local news reporters: “On Saturday afternoon police supported Border Force staff in receiving a number of people suspected of not having authority to enter the UK, who had been on a vessel towed safely by the RNLI into Sovereign Harbour at Eastbourne.
“Those detained are being taken into custody and care by Border Force for further enquiries.”
It’s the second intercepted crossing this year, with this site reporting on a similar incident in Dover last weekend, and is an inauspicious start to the year. 2020 saw a fourfold increase in the number of migrants entering the country by small boat, a trend that does not appear to be slowing.
“Some things never change”, said Reform UK party leader Nigel Farage who posted a video of illegal migrants being escorted off Border Force dinghies onto British soil.
The south coast has long been a vulnerable weakspot for Britain, due to its close proximity to the continent and has often been exploited by people smugglers, a line of work home secretary Priti Patel is determined to clamp down on.
The Sun reports today the home secretary has set up a “high-tech command centre” to aid British authorities in the war against the smugglers.
The state-of-the-art surveillance hub will be based at an undisclosed location in Dover and led by ex-Royal Marine commando Dan O’Mahoney who told reporters: “Significant steps were taken last year, including increased surveillance and more patrols on beaches… but we know that more needs to be done.
“By setting up the new command cell, we are making the UK’s and French law enforcement response more agile than it has ever been.”