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Wednesday, August 11, 1999 Published at 18:08 GMT 19:08 UK


Kent warned to brace for refugees

The group was discovered at the Isle of Grain

Local authorities in Kent have been warned to expect more illegal immigrants after more than 100 people believed to be Kosovo Albanians were found on Wednesday.

French officials say many more refugees are in Calais, waiting to cross the Channel.

The suspected illegal immigrants were discovered in Cliffe on the Isle of Grain.

A Home Office spokesman said: "Of the 110, 36 are children, 25 women and 49 men. They are all currently being interviewed by the immigration service." Among the group were at least six babies.

Kent Police are working with immigration officers and Medway Council to discover how the group found their way to the area.

Family search

They were initially taken to Rainham police station while social services staff found an Albanian-speaking interpreter.

Social workers have been trying to discover if any of the children were unaccompanied. Those who are alone will be taken into care by social services.

Council housing officers are making arrangements for accommodation should it be needed in the long or short term.

"Various options are available, depending on the final decision of the immigration service," said a council spokeswoman.

It is thought the group may have travelled as stowaways on lorries, which entered the UK through one of Kent's many ferry ports or via the Channel Tunnel.

But they may have been deliberately smuggled in for a fee by illegal traffickers.

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