23 migrants detained in Hastings after large emergency operation
The coastguard, Border Force officers, Sussex Police, and other partners were called to reports of a number of people in a boat off Winchelsea Beach at 1.16pm.
At 4.30pm, a police spokesman said the boat was found at Rock-a-Nore, near Hastings, later in the afternoon.
They said a number of people, believed to have come from the boat, were detained and arrangements were being made to hand them over to Border Force officers.
On Wednesday evening, a spokesman for the Home Office said 23 migrants were involved in the incident.
The incident between Hastings and Rye was the third of four incidents involving small boats on Wednesday.
The Home Office said, at 2am, a Border Force vessel intercepted an inflatable boat carrying 15 males and one female who presented themselves as Iranian.
At around 6am, another boat carrying 12 males and two females was intercepted. The Home Office said they also presented themselves as Iranian.
Then, at 2.30pm, the Border Force intercepted another boat carrying four people.
In a statement, the Home Office said all 57 individuals detained in the four incidents would be taken to Dover where they were to be assessed for any medical requirements. A spokesman said no issues had been reported.
All will then be transferred to immigration officials, the Home Office added.
A spokesman said: “They will be interviewed and their cases will be dealt with in line with the immigration rules, transferring to detention where appropriate.
“In line with Public Health England guidance, Border Force and all operational staff have the relevant Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) available to them.
“In line with Public Health England guidance migrants are not specifically tested for coronavirus, but are continuously monitored for symptoms.”
Tony Eastaugh, Home Office Director for Crime and Enforcement, said: “Those facilitating these illegal crossings and the criminals behind this trade are breaking the law. If someone facilitates an illegal crossing, we will enforce the law and seek to return those with no right to be in the UK.
“We are working around the clock each day with the NCA and French law enforcement agencies to arrest and dismantle organised crime gangs in France. On a daily basis there are extra police patrols on French beaches, drones, specialist vehicles and detection equipment to stop small boats leaving European shores.”