Concern for missing group after more than 20 suspected illegal immigrants land on Sussex beach


A group of suspected illegal immigrants may have gone missing after landing on a beach in Sussex yesterday (August 22), police have said.

A spokesman for Sussex Police said a small number of people may have left the beach after two boats landed on Wincheslea Beach, near Rye, containing suspected illegal immigrants.

The spokesman said a group of adults and children were transferred to immigration officials after the boat, which was believed to have crossed the Channel, landed between Dogs Hill and Rye Harbour.

But some of them, possibly a family including children, may have left the beach and there is concern for their safety and welfare, the spokesman said.

Chief Inspector Anita Turner said: “We want to make sure that these people are safely ashore and that they are okay. If you do come across them, please call us on 999 immediately quoting serial 462 of 22/08.”


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Earlier in the day, police said a boat containing more than 20 suspected illegal immigrants arrived at Winchelsea Beach.

A spokesman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said HM Coastguard has been assisting Border Force with a number of incidents off the Kent and Sussex coast throughout the day.

The spokesman said: “Rye lifeboats, HM Coastguard search and rescue helicopter from Lydd and a number of Border Force vessels have been sent.

“Sussex Police are also on the scene along with Border Force.

“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 Sussex Police spokesman said: “At 11.15am today, 20 adults and four children were detained as suspected illegal immigrants after arriving on a boat at Winchelsea Beach, between Dogs Hill and Rye Harbour, East Sussex.

“The case has now been transferred to the Border Force.”