Two Border Force cutters will patrol the English Channel after almost 100 migrants made the crossing over the Christmas period, the UK’s Home Office minister has announced.

Sajid Javid cut short a family holiday in South Africa to take personal control of the situation, which has seen migrants attempt to reach Britain by boat from France.

It comes as the Home Office revealed a group of 12 migrants, including a 10-year-old child, were detained after landing on a Kent beach this morning.

The cutters will be redeployed from overseas after almost 100 migrants made the perilous Channel crossing in dinghies and other small craft over the Christmas period.

Britain and France have agreed to boost bilateral cooperation over the situation.

In the coming weeks, the two countries will increase surveillance patrols and focus on measures to dismantle trafficking gangs and improve awareness about the dangers of sea crossings in one of the world's busiest shipping lanes.

"The UK and France will build on our joint efforts to deter illegal migration - protecting our borders and human life," said Mr Javid, after speaking to French counterpart Christophe Castaner.

Attempts to cross the English Channel have been increasing since October, with authorities on both sides struggling to stop them.


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Mr Javid, who has previously said the rise is being treated as a "major incident", has faced criticism from the opposition and from within his own party for responding too slowly.

"More than 200 migrants have arrived on the Kent coast in small craft in the past two months. The scale of the problem is unprecedented," Charlie Elphicke, the MP for Dover on the southeast coast of England, said.

A particular increase in arrivals has been recorded over the Christmas period, with British authorities finding 43 people in English waters on Christmas Day and St Stephen’s Day.

On Thursday, British border officials found 23 Iranians in three locations in Kent on England's southeast coast, hours after French maritime authorities intercepted 11 migrants in a small boat near Sangatte.

Yesterday authorities intercepted six Iranians near Kingsdown beach in Dover.