LILLE, France (AFP) – French police caught 14 migrants trying to steal a fishing trawler in the Channel port of Boulogne, a local prosecutor said on Tuesday.
It was the latest in a string of incidents in which migrants have tried to use French vessels to attempt the Channel crossing to England.
“Those seeking to help them on their way were busy breaking into the trawler” to let them aboard when harbor authorities called police, Pascal Marconville told AFP.
The migrants, including a mother and her two children, said they came from Iraq.
Police were still looking for two people they suspected of being the people smugglers involved in the incident, Marconville added.
In mid-November last year, a fishing vessel stolen from the harbour was intercepted with migrants aboard off the southern English coast.
A second stolen vessel was stopped with 16 migrants aboard on December 23 last year just after making it out to sea from Boulogne harbour.
Britain and France have agreed to boost cooperation to try to stop the increase in numbers, which began last October, the Britain’s Home Office said last Sunday.
They plan to increase Channel patrols and increase awareness of the dangers of trying to cross what is one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.