A boat containing more than 20 suspected illegal immigrants arrived at Winchelsea Beach this morning (Thursday, August 22), police said.
The coastguard, Border Force and other emergency services are also currently dealing with an incident off the coast of Hastings and Rye this afternoon following the boat’s arrival, it has been confirmed.
A spokesman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said HM Coastguard has been assisting Border Force with a number of incidents off the Kent and Sussex coast throughout the day.
The spokesman said: “Rye lifeboats, HM Coastguard search and rescue helicopter from Lydd and a number of Border Force vessels have been sent.
“Sussex Police are also on the scene along with Border Force.
“We are committed to safeguarding life around the seas and coastal areas of this country. HM Coastguard is only concerned with preservation of life, rescuing those in trouble and bringing them safely back to shore, where they will be handed over to the relevant partner emergency services or authorities.”
A Sussex Police spokesman said: “At 11.15am today, 20 adults and four children were detained as suspected illegal immigrants after arriving on a boat at Winchelsea Beach, between Dogs Hill and Rye Harbour, East Sussex.
“The case has now been transferred to the Border Force.”
More as we get it.