Dover refugees `moving in days'

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The Independent Online
ASYLUM-SEEKERS could be moved from Dover within days, Kent County Council leaders said yesterday after talks with the Home Office over tension in the port. Some of the 800 asylum-seekers in Dover will go to Leeds. Other local authorities are being urged to house some of Kent's total of 5,000.

Lord Bassam of Brighton, a Home Office minister, promised council representatives stronger border controls and more immigration officers. Brenda Trench, who chairs Kent social services, said those who were moved should not be replaced by arrivals. "We've got to stop them coming in, we can't cope with any more."

The Government also promised to work closely with French authorities to deter illegal immigrants. The council said it was pleased to see French police cracking down on crowds of would-be immigrants in Calais and around Gare Du Nord railway station in Paris.

French officers have held 150 people suspected of trying to cross the Channel. Sixty asylum-seekers, believed to have crossed in lorries, were found wandering in Ashford and Dover. A council spokesman said many arriving appeared to be Kurds or Afghanis who claim to be Kosovars.

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