Migrants found in family's front garden in Kent after empty inflatable boat discovered on beach

The group were caught after a massive coastguard search when their abandoned boat was found on Dungeness Beach, Kent, at 8am this morning.

The men were arrested on suspicion of entering the UK illegally.

Pictures show the gang being handed silver blankets for warmth after the three-mile trek from the beach to Harden Road, Lydd.

A Home Office spokesman said: "Border Force was contacted by HM Coastguard this morning, Monday January 7, at around 8.20am after they received reports of an unattended RHIB (rigid-hulled inflatable boat) at Dungeness, Kent.

"Border Force officers were deployed to secure the vessel. A search of the local area found eight people. Seven of those are now in Border Force care and the eighth has been transferred to hospital.

"A ninth man, who was also found in the area, has been arrested on suspicion of facilitating illegal entry to the UK. The incident is currently being investigated by officers from Immigration Enforcement's Criminal and Financial Investigation team."

It comes amid an escalating border crisis that has seen dozens of migrant boats try to cross the channel since the turn of the year.

Last week we revealed Dover coastguards are working "double shifts" to hunt migrants attempting the crossing.

One RNLI vessel has been scrambled four times already this year looking for passengers in flimsy dinghies, and rescuing one group.

It was called out 58 times last year, around once a week.

But the migrant crisis has more than doubled their workload, leaving crews with day jobs exhausted.

The average cost of a lifeboat launch is £1,500, though more challenging and lengthy rescues cost more. One call-out lasted three hours and 17 minutes, figures reveal.

Along the coast at Dungeness the RNLI has been called out twice since Christmas, both times for migrants.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has ordered more coastguard patrol boats in the Channel and wants MoD support from the Navy.


Meanwhile, asuspected illegal immigrant has been arrested after apparently stowing away in the luggage hold of a coach returning from a school skiing trip.

The 29-year-old man was discovered when the coach returned to St John's School in Marlborough, Wiltshire, on Saturday morning from the trip to the French Alps.
Police were called and the man was arrested by officers and later handed over to the UK Border Agency.

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