Migrants ‘disappear into the countryside’ after landing on Sussex coast

Police are searching for migrants who are thought to have disappeared into the countryside after landing on the Sussex coast.

Picture: Adrian Langan
Picture: Adrian Langan

On Thursday (October 4), Border Force was notified of a lifeboat in the Channel with six migrants on board heading for Hastings.

Border Force, Immigration Enforcement officers and Sussex Police attended the scene and six men were later located and detained.

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According to the Border Force, two of the individuals reported injuries and were taken to hospital for treatment.

Picture: Adrian Langan

Also on Thursday morning, Border Force and Immigration Enforcement officers were called to Winchelsea after a member of the public reported a lifeboat coming ashore.

Eyewitness accounts stated that there were 12 migrants. Eleven were detained at the scene (including a family unit (an adult male and child) as well as two minors and eight men).

If members of the public have information which they believe relates to anyone who may have absconded from the scene, they should contact Sussex Police by dialling 999.

On Thursday, police said a total of 17 migrants, including men, women and children, were detained by immigration officials, but a few others from the Winchelsea landing were thought to have disappeared into the surrounding countryside.

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Detective Inspector Jon Gillings, of Hastings police, said: “Two of those detained required medical treatment and we are concerned that one or two others still outstanding may also be in need of assistance.

“We would ask anyone seeing strangers in the area who may appear cold, wet, hungry, disorientated, or in need of medical aid, to report it by calling us immediately on 999, quoting serial 276 of 03/10.”

Also on Thursday, Border Force, Immigration Enforcement officers and Kent Police were called to the Leas, Folkestone, after a member of the public reported a lifeboat coming ashore. Nine migrants were located and detained including two family units made up of four adults (two men and two women) and five minors.

Border Force was also notified of an inflatable kayak in the Channel with three men on board. The vessel was intercepted by a Border Force coastal patrol vessel and taken to Dover.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Crossing the Channel in a small boat is a huge risk. The criminal gangs who perpetuate this are ruthless and do not care about loss of life.

“We are working closely at all levels with the French authorities to tackle this dangerous and illegal activity. In addition, Border Force cutters are patrolling the Channel and we have deployed equipment to detect migrant activity.

“In August, the Home Secretary and her French counterpart agreed to intensify joint action to tackle small boat crossings in the Channel. This includes drawing up an enhanced action plan to deploy more resources along the French coast to intercept and stop crossings.”