Kimberly Addy, 31, who witnessed the detention of several migrants right outside her house after they travelled across the English Channel in an inflatable boat, wrote on Facebook of her surprise at seeing such a development on the street.
"I was in the lounge feeding my baby when I saw the police outside. I saw the men there earlier but I didn't think anything of it. They were all walking around normally as if nothing had happened. But when police got here they seemed frail. There were only three of them here but I've heard eight of them were seen on the beach earlier. When the police came, they took their jackets off and police gave them foil blankets. An ambulance pulled up and police sent it away. I thought it was all a bit strange — I just saw it from my window. The men must have crossed through fields because they came in the opposite direction, not from Dungeness", Daily Mail cited her as saying.
The Coast Guard launched a search for illegal migrants in Kent on 7 January after discovering the empty dinghy on the beach at Dungeness on Romney Marsh in the morning. Once it became clear that no one had been left stranded in the sea, the maritime operation was over. But hours later, police and border force officials arrived at a residential street in Lydd with some of the migrants, Daily Mail reported.
"Border Force was contacted by HM Coastguard this morning, Monday January 7, at around 8.20am after they received reports of an unattended RHIB (rigid-hulled inflatable boat) at Dungeness, Kent. Border Force officers were deployed to secure the vessel. A search of the local area found eight people. Seven of those are now in Border Force care and the eighth has been transferred to hospital. A ninth man, who was also found in the area, has been arrested on suspicion of facilitating illegal entry to the UK. The incident is currently being investigated by officers from Immigration Enforcement’s Criminal and Financial Investigation team", a spokesperson for the Home Office said in a statement.
The operation comes amid mounting reports of illegal migrants trying to cross the Channel to reach the UK.
Just a day before that, UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid asked Williamson to use the Royal Navy in the strait to help tackle the ongoing migrant crisis.
Speaking upon his visit to Dover, Javid said "a question has to be asked: if you are a genuine asylum seeker, why have you not sought asylum in the first safe country you arrived in?"
In December, Javid said that the situation should be treated as a "major incident" and announced plans to bring two Border Force cutters back to the UK to boost sea patrols.
"I have made a decision today to redeploy two of the Border Force's largest vessels, known as cutters, from abroad back to the UK, to southeast England, and they will be joining a cutter that is already there and two other coastal patrol vessels", Javid said.