Two inflatable boats carrying 12 men from Syria and Iran have been intercepted in the English Channel.

On Friday morning Border Force officials brought the men to shore at Dover and handed them over to immigration officials to be interviewed.

An inflatable boat, carrying one Syrian and three Iranians, was reported to the Coastguard at around 3am.

Boxing Day saw three more migrants intercepted in a small boat and on Thursday an inflatable boat carrying nine people was rescued by a lifeboat crew three miles off the coast of Sandgate in Kent.Caroline Nokes said the number of migrants attempting to cross the Channel is concerning (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Speaking after the incident on Thursday, Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes branded the number of migrants crossing the Channel as “deeply concerning”.

She added: “Some of this is clearly facilitated by organised crime groups while other attempts appear to be opportunistic.

“We are in close and continual contact with the French authorities and law enforcement partners including through the new UK-France Coordination and Information Centre which opened in Calais at the end of last month to tackle criminality at the border.

“Attempting to cross the Channel in this way is extremely dangerous and they are putting their lives at risk.

“People should also be in no doubt that border Force and the Police Aux Frontiers are working together 24 hours a day to prevent attempts, protect life and prosecute offenders.

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“At the same time, the UK’s NCA-led Organised Immigration Taskforce is working to stop people smuggling at source.”

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