2 European citizens rescued from English Channel questioned on suspicion of people smuggling

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The RNLI and Border Force were called just before 8.15am to a 15 foot boat in difficulty about four miles from the coast of Dover.  It is not currently known where in Europe they are from or how they came to get in to trouble in the Channel.

There had been earlier reports that the men were migrants trying to get to Britain, but an RNLI spokesman has since confirmed this was not the case.

The spokesman confirmed two Europeans were rescued and were safe, and have been handed over to BOrder Force officers.

Border Force are investigating, and it is understood the two men are being questioned on suspicion of people smuggling, Sky News reported.

Last month a group of 18 Albanian migrants were among 20 people rescued from the English Channel just yards from Kent after their inflatable boat started sinking.

The group, which included two children and a woman, was within striking distance of British shores when a call for help was made to the UK Coastguard.

The dingy was the second to reach the same location on the Kent coast in just two weeks.

In the aftermath President of the French coastguard, Bernard Barron, said: “It’s starting to become a very similar situation to that seen in the Mediterranean and my biggest fear is that the same kind of tragedies we see in Greece or Italy will start to repeat in the Channel.

“They operate across the length of both the French and Belgian coastlines, between Ostend and into Normandy, finding new positions from where they can send their clients – the migrants – towards England.”

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