Police arrest 100 illegal entrants in Dover swoop

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The Independent Online
NEARLY 100 illegal immigrants have been netted in less than two days in a special operation mounted by officials at the port of Dover. Officials found 74 "clandestine" immigrants within hours of the operation starting on Wednesday.

Yesterday, they found a further 24, including 14 Romanians and three Afghani men in a lorry entering the port. All of those attempting to enter the country illegally were likely to claim asylum, said immigration officials. They were being held at Dover for processing.

The high-profile exercise was launched after figures showed a further surge in the number of people trying to smuggle themselves into the UK. Provisional figures for August showed the Immigration Service discovered 1,130 "clandestines" in August. That is a rise on July's figure of 815 and represents more than a third of the total of 3,212 clandestines discovered at the port during the whole of last year.

The assistant director of the Immigration Service, Jim Munro, said the operation aimed to send a message to organised gangs involved in people smuggling that they would be caught.

Officials used two dogs and devices which detect carbon dioxide inside lorry containers - indicating people are present. Caravans, vans and car boots were searched.

Foot passengers were also being checked to uncover those trying to enter the country with inadequate documents. The blitz followed a political storm the Government's handling of the immigration issue and figures showing asylum applications in July hit a record 6,600.

Mr Munro said the netting of about 1,100 clandestines in Dover last month was a record for the port. Most of those arriving were from the former Yugoslavia, but included Romanians, Afghanis, Sri Lankans, Iraqis, Iranians and people from Zaire and Congo.

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