- Associated Press - Saturday, June 1, 2019

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s Coastguard helped Border Force officers respond Saturday to reports of boats carrying migrants off the southeastern coast.

The number of migrants detained was not immediately clear. Coastguard officials, however, said nine vessels had been involved in incidents in a coastal area stretching from the port of Dover to Winchelsea Beach near Hastings, 50 miles (80 kilometers) away. Saturday saw exceptionally warm sunny weather in southern Britain.

A higher figure of 13 was previously given due to multiple reports as events unfolded, the Coastguard said.

Local lawmaker Charlie Elphicke suggested the numbers were unprecedented.

“This crisis was meant to have been dealt with at Christmas, yet numbers continue to rise,” he wrote on Twitter. “It looks set to surge to record levels through the summer. The Home Office needs to get a grip on this crisis.”



The reports about migrants coming into the U.K. using small boats to cross the English Channel are politically volatile. Last year, Home Secretary Sajid Javid declared a rise in migrant crossings to be a “major incident.”

Officials have blamed the influx on smuggling gangs.

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