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Three English Channel ‘migrants’ brought ashore

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French authorities said the group were in a semi-rigid vessel

Three suspected migrants spotted in a small boat in the Channel have been brought ashore by the Border Force.

The group were about 10 miles (16.5km) off the French coast when authorities in France spotted them after midnight.

Border Force officials recovered the group in British waters, the Prefecture Maritime de la Manche said.

Forty migrants, including two children, were rescued in five incidents in the Channel on Christmas Day. The Home Office has blamed organised crime.

Coastguards said they were not involved in the latest incident on Boxing Day.

Busiest shipping lane

Forty migrants in Christmas Day rescues

Why are Iranians crossing the Channel in dinghies?

A Home Office spokesman said: “Evidence shows there is organised criminal gang activity behind illegal migration attempts by small boats across the Channel.

“We are working closely with the French and law enforcement partners to target these gangs, who exploit vulnerable people and put lives at risk.”

The Home Office has not yet said where the latest group came from.

Those rescued on Christmas Day presented themselves as Iraqi, Iranian and Afghan.

A statement from the French authorities said a British Border Force vessel searched for the group and picked them up at about 02:00 GMT.

The statement warned migrants who plan to cross the the Dover-Calais strait – the world’s busiest shipping lane – they were endangering lives.

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