Kent

Migrants rescued from sandbank off Kent coast

Dover
Image caption Border Force officers waited at Dover to interview the six people

Six migrants who were trying to reach the Kent coast in a small boat have been rescued from a sandbank in the English Channel.

The boat was spotted at about 05:40 BST, the Home Office said.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) sent a search and rescue helicopter and a boat.

A Home Office spokesman said: "Six men were recovered from the boat and are due to be interviewed by Border Force officers."

The migrants were discovered at the Varne sandbank about seven miles off Dover.

This is the eighth rescue of migrants in small boats made by Border Force officers off the Kent and Sussex coast since March.

Earlier this year, the National Crime Agency (NCA) revealed migrants trying to reach the UK were paying smuggling gangs up to £13,500 for their journey.

Some were quoted five-figure sums to make the trip by air.

Others were thought to have spent as much as £12,000 to travel from France in inflatable boats.

Investigators also said that criminals may be using less busy ports in the UK, including Tilbury, Purfleet, Hull, Immingham and Newhaven, as well as the main Channel crossing between Calais and Dover.

Image caption The Varne sandbank lies between Calais and Dover in the English Channel

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