United Kingdom alarm as migrant boats cross Channel

UNCLEARED GRABS- Six Iranian men have landed on a Kent beach near Dover

In total six Iranian men were found on a Kent beach

Six Iranian men with a small boat have been found on a beach in Kingsdown, near Deal in Kent, the Home Office has confirmed.

French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said he had spoken by phone with Home Secretary Sajid Javid about the spate of attempts by migrants to cross the English Channel.

Dozens more have crossed the Channel from France and Belgium using small dinghies and motor boats over the festive period, after seaborne crossings - once rare in what world's busiest shipping lane, compared to illegal crossings by vehicle, lorry, and even the Channel Tunnel - began to seriously escalate in November.

Mr Javid has come under growing pressure to act, with Labour accusing him of being "slow to respond" and Conservative MP Rehman Chishti telling him to "get a grip".

Mr Javid declared a "major incident" on Friday after dozens of migrants in small boats arrived on the Kent coast over the Christmas period. It comes after more than forty migrants were picked up on Christmas day.

Mr Javid thanked the French minister for his "partnership", adding: "UK and France will build on our joint efforts to deter illegal migration - protecting our borders and human life".

"While the Tories wax lyrical about control of our borders and being tough on security, they can not seem to get a grip on criminal smugglers operating on a few hundred miles of coastline, in one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world".

The National Crime Agency said that tackling the criminals behind these "extremely dangerous" attempted crossings was an "operational priority" and significant resources were devoted to them.

"We've put a big fence up to prevent people from accessing trains and lorries and people are resorting to other methods to get here", she told the BBC.

But he resisted calls to deploy more cutters to the Channel, saying he was keeping the number of vessels available to the Border Force "under close review", but stressing that there was "no one easy answer".

He has appointed a commander to oversee the response to the incidents and asked for daily updates. "They are around and about in the camps, they are in the cafes in those areas of Calais".

"We realised they were safe and sound, and the police took over", he said.

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