Ten people in custody in France over deaths of 27 migrants in the English Channel

Ten people have been taken into custody in France over the deaths of 27 migrants in the Channel.

The victims died while attempting the dangerous crossing from France to the UK in November.

French police said 15 people, aged 18 to 41, were originally arrested as part of the sting operation but five were subsequently released.

The suspects were caught by authorities in the north of the country and the Parisian region.

It has been reported that they are all allegedly part of an Afghan smuggling network.

They are due to appear in court later on Thursday.

The arrests come after 269 people travelled across the Channel to the UK in small boats on Wednesday.

Six boats were intercepted by UK authorities, with women and children found on board.

Border Force and Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) vessels brought the migrants ashore at Dover and Dungeness in Kent after intervening.

A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover

Read more:
At least 444 people cross Channel – highest daily figure for two months

The crossings bring the total to have arrived in the UK so far this year to 12,606, compared with 5,911 at this point in 2021 and 2,449 in 2020.

On Tuesday, the Nationality and Borders Act (NABA) came into force, which means anyone caught piloting a boat carrying migrants in the Channel could face life behind bars.

The measures have also increased the maximum penalty for illegally entering the UK or overstaying a visa.

People found guilty of the crime used to face six months in prison, but could now receive a four-year sentence.

Other measures have been put in place over asylum applications and new powers for authorities to search vessels for migrants have also been implemented.

Last month, the government launched a controversial policy to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.

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