DRONES continue to patrol the English Channel after a cluster of small boats containing men, women and children were intercepted.

The Home Office has said 29 people were handed over to immigration officials on Monday.

The crossings followed a wave of migrant camp clearances in France last week.

Sussex Police found people on Fairlight Beach, Hastings, East Sussex at about 2pm. 

Coastguard were called an a search was launched.

The Argus:

A coastguard spokeswoman said: "We coordinated a search and rescue response to an incident near Hastings.

"We sent Coastguard Rescue Teams from Hastings and Rye Bay and Sussex Police.

"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 woman and a child have been handed over to the Home Office.
This was one of several incidents throughout the day.

On Monday morning, a group of people draped in blankets were seen being brought ashore at the Port of Dover by Border Force officials.

The group were searched, handed over to immigration officials and taken away in a van after coming ashore at about 11am.

At about 8.30am, Border Force intercepted another group of 11 men, three women and two children who were also taken to Dover and handed over to immigration officials.

The Argus:

The Home Office said Border Force was also alerted to a small boat crossing the Channel at about 4.30am and eight men, a woman and two children - who said they were Iraqi and Iranian - were found on board.

A vessel was stopped near the French coast.

The French coastguard said it rescued nine migrants - six men, a woman and two children - shortly after 5am when the engine on their boat failed.

They were taken to Boulogne-sur-Mer and handed over to police at about 8.15am.

This comes days after Border Force intercepted what is thought to be the highest number of migrants in a single day amid warnings the closure of a French camp could prompt a spike in Channel crossings.

At least 86 men, women and children attempted the journey in small boats on September 10, with some managing to land on beaches before being detained.

On Friday, French police officers - including some who appeared to be armed with tear gas guns - cordoned off a road by an area of wasteland and woodland on the outskirts of Calais, telling those camping there to leave and move their tents.

The number of migrants taken in by UK authorities so far this year is thought to have already passed 1,000.

Border Force cutters are continuing to patrol the Channel while drones, CCTV and night vision goggles are used, the Home Office said.