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Britain's lack of coastal border security was laid bare last night as it was revealed the country has only a handful of boats to guard our waters – while Italy has 600.
UK Border Force has just three vessels monitoring 7,700 miles of coast despite mounting evidence of smugglers and migrants targeting small harbours and isolated beaches.
On Tuesday border guards detained three Iranians spotted drifting in an inflatable boat a few miles off Dover. All three have now claimed asylum.
And figures show the size of our operational fleet is tiny compared to other European nations. Tory MP Anne Main uncovered the strength of foreign fleets for law enforcement, including immigration, weapons and drug-smuggling, after urging Home Secretary Theresa May to bolster border controls.
Border Force has five cutters, but only three are patrolling UK waters. One is tackling migrant-smuggling in the Mediterranean and another is kept in dock to save money.
Each vessel can operate for just 48 hours from their home marina near Portsmouth, limiting them to the Channel – and leaving swathes of coastline unmanned.
But Italy has 600 boats to patrol the country’s 4,700 miles of coast, Greece has 240 vessels monitoring 8,500 miles and Spain has 147 looking after 3,085 miles.
Thousands of migrants are camped on the shores of northern Europe willing to pay people-smugglers huge sums in a desperate bid to cross the Channel.
Mrs Main, a Brexit supporter, said: ‘Our coastline is more porous...
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