Border force seen fitting face masks on migrants at Dover

Nearly 400 migrants have tried to cross during lockdown

Friday, April 17, 2020

Border Force officers have been seen fitting face masks to people believed to be migrants at Dover today as they continue to tackle illegal crossings amid coronavirus.

The Border Force cutter HMC Vigilant was reportedly active in the English Channel this morning, with pictures taken at the UK port showing the suspected migrants being processed by personnel wearing fluorescent jackets.

The latest incidents come as the growing Covid-19 threat, a lack of food and the mass exodus of volunteers has left migrants in northern France in a perilous position, according to a humanitarian charity.

Nearly 400 migrants are known to have risked their lives in small boats to try to cross the English Channel since lockdown measures were put in place in the UK on March 23.

Following the latest confirmed crossing attempts on Sunday, the Home Office reiterated that the pandemic has had “no impact” on its ability to respond to migrant activity.

It said: “Border Force and Immigration Enforcement will always have the resources needed to tackle these illegal and dangerous crossings.”

French authorities say they have intercepted 44 migrants in three boats on Friday, including eight children.

Meanwhile, the Home Office has also warned against criminal networks attempting to “exploit” the pandemic.

Earlier this week Border Force officers seized £1m of cocaine that was hidden in a box of face masks at the Channel Tunnel and also uncovered suspected fake coronavirus testing kits.

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