12 migrants found on beach as UK mulls more Channel patrols

LONDON (AP) – Police picked up a group of 12 migrants found on a beach in southwestern England as top British officials met on Monday to discuss the increasing numbers of people attempting to cross the English Channel from France to England.

The British government agency that oversees immigration said nine men, two women and a 10-year-old child were in the group, who reported being Iranian. The people received health checks and were turned over to immigration officials for interviews, the Home Office said.

A surge of Channel crossings in recent weeks prompted Home Secretary Sajid Javid to call a crisis meeting with top officials from

Britain’s Border Force and National Crime Agency and senior government officials.

Javid said afterward that the government planned to put two more Border Force ships on patrol in the English Channel to protect both the lives of migrants making the risky journey and Britain’s borders.

About 230 migrants tried to traverse the water from northern France to southern England in December, he said.

“We must remember that this is one of the most treacherous stretches of water that there is, 21 miles with people taking grave risk,” Javid said.

He said two Border Force cutters would be called back from abroad to join a third already stationed in the Channel.