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Home Officer considers using nets to stop illegal migrant boats crossing the English Channel

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The Home Office is considering the use of nets to prevent illegal migrants from crossing the English Channel in small boats to the UK, according to a former Royal Marine who has been handed the task of stopping the influx of small boats arriving.

During an interview with the Daily Telegraph, the Home Office’s clandestine channel threat commander, Dan O’Mahoney, said nets could be used to clog propellers and bring boats to a standstill as they attempt the crossing over the Dover Strait.

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Commander O’Mahoney told the Telegraph: “It’s that type of thing, yes. So, safely disabling the engine and then taking the migrants onboard our vessel.”

He went on to confirm that nets were one of a number of methods “which we may deploy over the next few months. But given that we’re not using them yet I’m not at liberty to go into detail about them … We are working with maritime security departments across law enforcement and military, everywhere across government [to] come up with new tactics to tackle this problem”.

Clandestine channel threat commander, Dan O’Mahoney: Source: Twitter

He added: “We definitely are very, very close to being able to operationalise a safe return tactic where we make an intervention safely on a migrant vessel, take migrants onboard our vessel and then take them back to France.”

The official number of people arriving in the UK in small boats has increased nearly four-fold this year to more than 7,000, just last week the Home Secretary Priti Patel called the asylum system “fundamentally broken” and promised new laws to deny asylum to those using unofficial routes to enter the UK.

The Home Secretary vowed to end “endless legal claims” from refused asylum seekers and said she was willing to face “being unpopular on Twitter” in order to bring down the number of claims.

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