Two dinghies carrying 14 illegal migrants have been picked up by the coastguard near the Kent coast.
UK Border Force intercepted one dinghy carrying six men and one woman at around 1:30 am on Thursday, “all of whom presented themselves as Iranian,” the Home Office said in a statement.
“The dinghy and those on board were escorted into Dover were they were met by Border Force officers and Port of Dover police.”
“They have been transferred to immigration officials for interview,” the statement added.
Later in the morning, a second vessel was intercepted, with a police spokesman telling Kent Online: “At 8.23am police were notified that seven people had been found around two-and-a-half miles off the coast of Dover in a dinghy.
“The matter will be dealt with by Home Office Immigration Enforcement.”
In a separate incident earlier Thursday, reported by the BBC, French authorities said a helicopter and rescue ships were scrambled to save 11 illegal migrants in distress off the coast of the French town of Wimereux.
Twelve Migrants Reach UK Coast After Stealing French Fishing Boat https://t.co/gx2spbhGHG
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 13, 2018
There has been a surge in migrants, mainly Iranian, crossing to the UK in small boats, with at least five vessels carrying dozens of people landing in just a few days last week.
Last week, 17 men, one woman, and one child were found on three “small open” boats and all believed to be Iranian, the Home Office said.
Two days before, a dozen Iranian migrants stole a fishing boat from Boulogne-sur-Mer and were arrested after being intercepted at the Dover coast.
Speaking earlier this week, local MP Charlie Elphicke said: “To see so many brazen attempts to break into Britain in one week is unprecedented and deeply concerning.”
He added on Thursday that the Home Office “say they have stepped up patrols in the South East – yet clearly not enough is being done.
“The French must get a grip of this situation too. Lives will be lost if this trafficking network is not stopped in its tracks.”