A group of migrants illegally crossing the English Channel rejected rescue by the French coast guard, instead demanding to be collected by U.K. authorities and brought to England, according to reports.
A small boat carrying 15 Iranian men was spotted by French and British naval patrols after it jettisoned its motor halfway across the English Channel.
“The migrants inside were kicking off at the French patrol vessel, firing flares up and being a nuisance because they didn’t want to go back to France. By then they were in British territorial waters so had to be picked up by the British,” a source told the The Telegraph.
The men were eventually brought ashore by the U.K Border Force.
“The dinghy was very low in the water and the migrants were firing flares asking to be rescued,” a witness told The Telegraph. “I looked out of the window and saw this tiny orange boat. You could tell it was a migrant dinghy. They were about two miles from the coast of Britain.”
“The ferry kept a safe distance from the dingy but kept circling until a coastguard helicopter came over and then we saw two coastguard boats coming out of the port of Dover.”
Meanwhile, another group of eight migrants reportedly landed their boat on British soil during the incident, which the Home Office has confirmed in a statement.
Approximately 1,500 migrants have successfully completed the Channel crossing to the U.K. in 2019, a 500 percent increase from 2018, while only about 100 have been returned to mainland Europe.
British authorities revealed that migrants have become so emboldened by the lack of disciplinary action being taken against illegal crossers, some are simply calling police from their boats to arrange pick-up.
"Illegal migrants are ringing police to collect them from boats in the Channel because they are so sure of avoiding being returned to their countries, MPs have been told," the London Times reported in February.
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(PHOTO: Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)Dan Lyman: Follow @CitizenAnalyst