The Latest: UK intercepts 74 migrants crossing the Channel
LONDON (AP) — The Latest on migrants crossing the Channel into Britain (all times local):
Britain’s Border Force has intercepted 74 people, including minors, on eight vessels that were trying to cross the English Channel into Britain. Two other boats were intercepted by French authorities.
The interceptions came on an exceptionally sunny, warm Saturday for southern Britain. It will heighten concerns that improving weather will encourage smugglers to try their luck at bringing more migrants to the U.K. from France.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid says the number of migrants attempting to cross the Channel was “deeply concerning,” and that he was speaking with his counterparts in France about it.
Javid says “those who choose to make this dangerous journey across one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world are putting their lives in grave danger and I will continue to do all I can to stop them.”
Britain’s Coastguard says it has helped Border Force officers respond to reports of boats carrying migrants off the southeastern coast.
The number of migrants detained Saturday was not immediately clear. Coastguard officials, however, said 13 incidents had been reported, stretching from the port of Dover to Winchelsea Beach near Hastings, 50 miles (80 kilometers) away. Saturday saw exceptionally warm sunny weather in southern Britain.
Local lawmaker Charlie Elphicke demanded in a tweet that the “Home Office needs to get a grip on this crisis.”
The reports about migrants coming into the U.K. using small boats to cross the English Channel are politically volatile. Last year Home Secretary Sajid Javid declared a rise in migrant crossings to be a “major incident.”
Officials have blamed the influx on smuggling gangs.