52 migrants have been intercepted by border force boats off the coast of Kent by UK Border Force officials this weekend.
Border Force cutters were dispatched to two incidents on Saturday, according to the Home Office, with local reports saying that there was another group of migrants intercepted on Sunday off the coast of Dover.
On Saturday morning at 5.50am, a small, rigid inflatable boat was intercepted carrying 11 men, who claimed to be from Iran.
Then, two hours later a boat carrying nine migrants, claiming to be Iranian and Iraqi and consisting of six men, two women and a 12-year-old, was also intercepted by Border Force.
The groups were handed over to immigration officials.
At 4am on Sunday morning, Border Force was alerted to a small boat that was in UK waters and heading towards Dover.
13 people were recovered – six men, two women and five children – who all claimed to be from Iraq and Iran.
A further incident at 9am saw another 19 people intercepted by the Border Force boats.
All the people found were medically assessed and said to be well, and are now with immigration figures for interview.
In a statement, the Home Office said: Anyone crossing the Channel in a small boat is taking a huge risk with their life and the lives of their children.
It is an established principle that those in need of protection should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach, and since January more than 25 people who arrived illegally in the UK in small boats have been returned to Europe.
Local fishermen told Sky News that the weather in Dover had been calm, and that the sea was like a mill pond, which could encourage people to attempt the crossings.
(c) Sky News 2019: Dozens of migrants intercepted in the Channel off Kent over the weekend