A total of 79 migrants have crossed the English Channel in five boats – close to the record number to do so in one day.
The group of migrants, which included children, was intercepted in five separate incidents on Wednesday, the Home Office said.
It is close to the record number of people to cross the Channel in a single day, which is 86, recorded in September, according to the House of Commons Library.
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In the first incident at about 2.50am, a Border Force vessel intercepted a rigid-hulled inflatable boat which was carrying a group of eight people.
These were seven men and one child who presented themselves as Iranian and Afghan nationals.
At about 5.30am, a Border Force vessel stopped a boat which was carrying a group of 20 people – made up of men, women and children – who said they were Iranian and Iraqi nationals.
In the third incident, at about 7.45am, officers from Immigration Enforcement and Kent Police went to a beach at Old Stairs, Kingsdown, where 20 people were found.
Half an hour later, a Border Force vessel intercepted another boat carrying 20 people – made up of men, women and children – who presented themselves as Iraqi and Syrian nationals.
In the fifth incident, at about 9.15am, an RNLI lifeboat rescued 11 people – men, women and children – from a vessel in the Channel. They said they were Iranian nationals.
The people from all boats have been medically assessed and will now be interviewed by immigration officials.
A Home Office spokesman said: “Crossing the Channel in a small boat is incredibly dangerous.
“Anyone attempting the journey is taking a huge risk with their life and the lives of their children.
“The government continues to work with European partners to tackle illegal migration.”
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