Up to 40 migrants have been intercepted by border force boats off the coast of Kent by UK Border Force officials this weekend.

Border Force cutters were dispatched to two incidents on Saturday, according to the Home Office, with local reports saying that there was another group of migrants intercepted on Sunday off the coast of Dover.

On Saturday morning at 5.50am, a small, rigid inflatable boat was intercepted carrying 11 men, who claimed to be from Iran.

Cutters have intercepted three groups this weekend
Image:
Cutters have intercepted three groups this weekend

Then, two hours later a boat carrying nine migrants, claiming to be Iranian and Iraqi and consisting of six men, two women and a 12-year-old, was also intercepted by Border Force.

The groups were handed over to immigration officials.

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On Sunday, Sky News learnt that another vessel, thought to contain 20 people, was found off the Kent coast and brought to shore.

Sky News understands that they also remain with immigration officials.

More from Dover

In a statement, the Home Office said: “Anyone crossing the Channel in a small boat is taking a huge risk with their life and the lives of their children.

“It is an established principle that those in need of protection should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach, and since January more than 25 people who arrived illegally in the UK in small boats have been returned to Europe.”

Local fishermen told Sky News that the weather in Dover had been calm, and that the sea was like a “mill pond”, which could encourage people to attempt the crossings.