THREE boatloads of migrants took a “huge risk with their lives” as they attempted to cross the English Channel, the Home Office says.

A total of 38 people were picked up by Border Force near Hastings yesterday.

A first group of eight people washed ashore in a small rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB). They were “medically assessed and found to be well”.

A further two dinghies were intercepted off the Sussex coast containing groups of 12 and 18 people, including young children.

Medical checks are ongoing and all those picked up have been transferred to immigration officials for interview.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “Anyone crossing the Channel in a small boat is taking a huge risk with their life and the lives of their children.

“Since the Home Secretary declared a major incident in December 2018, two cutters have returned to UK waters from overseas operations, we have agreed a joint action plan with France and increased activity out of the Joint Coordination and Information Centre in Calais.

“It is an established principle that those in need of protection should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach and since January more than 50 people who arrived illegally in the UK in small boats have been returned to Europe.”

On the same day a man wearing flippers was picked up by a fishing boat near Calais. He had “slight hypothermia” when he was found and was believed to have been attempting to swim to England. He has been handed over to border police.