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Border Force vessels brought back to patrol Channel amid migrant crossings

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Patrol vessels will be brought back from overseas to the Channel as part of efforts to stem migrant crossings to UK shores via small boats.

Two Border Force cutters will be redeployed, Home Secretary Sajid Javid has announced, after he led a cross-government meeting on Monday in response to what he has declared a “major incident”.

The latest incident over the festive period saw 12 Iranian migrants – including a child – land on the beach at Lydd-on-Sea, Kent, at 6am on New Year’s Eve.

Mr Javid, who cut short a family holiday to deal with the situation, had been under increasing pressure from fellow Tory MPs to step up the government’s response.

Previously, immigration minister Caroline Nokes had signalled a Home Office reluctance to put further Border Force vessels in the Channel.

On a visit to Dover at the weekend, she claimed more craft could act as a possible “magnet” for further attempted crossings.

The Home Office confirmed on Monday the group, presenting themselves as Iranian, who landed at Lydd-on-Sea consisted of nine men, two women and 10-year-old child.

Earlier on Monday, writing in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Javid said ministers would “not stand by and allow reckless criminals to take advantage of vulnerable people”.

“Over the past week, we have seen a sharp increase in the number of migrants attempting to cross the Channel in small boats,” he added.

“As home secretary, this rise has been deeply concerning.

“The English Channel contains some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, the weather conditions are often treacherous and the inflatable boats being used are woefully ill-equipped to make such a dangerous journey.

“The migrants who choose to make the journey are putting their lives in grave danger.”

Mr Javid described the reasons behind the “increased” crossings as “complicated and in many cases outside our control”, adding there are “no easy answers”.

He cited instability in the Middle East and North Africa, increased security at Calais to prevent stowaways on lorries and ferries, as well as organised criminal gangs for “profiteering from these vulnerable and often desperate people”.

Mr Javid also paid tribute to joint UK-French efforts to deal with migrant crossings, after holding a telephone call with his French counterpart Christophe Castaner on Sunday.

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