Iranians found on English beach as Channel crossings mount

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On Thursday, British border officials found 23 Iranians in three locations in Kent on England's southeast coast, hours after French maritime authorities intercepted 11 migrants in a small boat near Sangatte.

He will chair a meeting with the Border Force, the National Crime Agency (NCA), Whitehall officials and other agencies on Monday morning to discuss what further action can be taken.

"We have not had any requests as yet but if the Home Office is in need of armed forces support then our Navy, Air Force and Army stand ready to assist", he said.

A witness who works at the Zetland Arms pub, which overlooks the beach, said they saw authorities leading a small group of men from the shore to a Ford Transit van at around 9.30am.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid asked that his government department "treat the situation as a major incident".

Davey said the Lib Dems want more investment in a Stronger Border force to tackle criminal gangs trafficking people, drugs and weapons and undo the "damage done by Theresa May's cuts to Britain security".

Meanwhile, ex-Ukip leader Nigel Farage said Javid could become the next prime minister if he followed the lead of former Australian PM Tony Abbott to "make it crystal clear that any individual who crosses the Channel by dinghy and illegally enters British waters will not be allowed to stay in our country".

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Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he said: "The reasons behind the increased crossings are complicated and in many cases outside of our control".

Thanking the French minister for his "partnership", Mr Javid said: "The UK and France will build on our joint efforts to deter illegal migration - protecting our borders and human life".

However, compared with the number of refugees seeking asylum in the United Kingdom every year, the number who have attempted to cross the channel by dinghy is tiny, says BBC political correspondent Ben Wright. "Ultimately the buck stops with the Home Secretary".

Mr Javid has described France's response to the recent incidents as "swift and thorough".

He said: "For the most part people who were seeking asylum in the United Kingdom arrived by plane".

Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes said in a statement that attempting to cross the channel in these small boats is "extremely risky", adding that some of the activity is facilitated by organized crime groups.

"We are being told that those touting for these crossings are absolutely open about it", she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.