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Suspected migrants found on boat in Folkestone Harbour

Published 23/11/2016

The Dover Lifeboat was involved in the search
The Dover Lifeboat was involved in the search

Seven suspected migrants have been found on a boat on the Kent coast.

Kent Police said they were called at 5.32am to concerns about a boat at sea near Dover.

Dover Lifeboat and the coastguard launched a search and a boat was found at Folkestone Harbour with seven suspected migrants on board.

Three were suffering from suspected hypothermia and South East Ambulance Service was called to assist, the coastguard said.

It is believed the boat reached the shore without assistance.

Images posted on social media show a red and black rib said to be the boat the seven people were travelling in.

A separate emergency call was received at around 6am before the boat was found, but the coastguard said they were confident only one boat was involved.

Ian Guy, UK Coastguard duty controller, said: " A thorough search of the area was made to establish that there was no other boat still out at sea. We are satisfied that is the case."

Police said the matter has been passed to the Home Office.

Charlie Elphicke, MP for Dover and Deal, said the incident showed the need "to be more vigilant than ever" following the closure of the Jungle camp at Calais.

He said: "This is yet another sign of the extreme lengths people will go to, risking their lives trying to break into Britain.

"Crossing the English Channel in a small boat as winter sets in is about as dangerous as it gets.

"It's clear that although the Jungle camp at Calais has been cleared, we now need to be more vigilant than ever.

"This incident underlines the need to ensure we scan our seas for people smugglers, protect our borders and to strengthen our intelligence effort with France."

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From Belfast Telegraph