Decathlon stops the sale of canoes in the north of France to curb migrant crossings

Decathlon stops the sale of canoes in the north of France to curb migrant crossings

Sports equipment retailer Decathlon will no longer sell canoes in northern France to prevent migrants from attempting to use them to cross to England.

Tuesday’s announcement came as hundreds of people sailed across the Channel during a busy day for UK search and rescue forces. There have been several landings along the Kent coast, including around 60 people who landed at Dungeness shortly before 4 p.m.

Three migrants were reported missing on Friday after attempting to cross the Channel to Britain by canoe, while two canoes were found adrift off Calais on Thursday and two people were rescued from the water.

A jet ski allegedly used in a migrant crossing is inspected in Dungeness, Kent. Photograph: Gareth Fuller / PA

The Home Office said 1,185 people arrived on small boats on Thursday, a record for the current migration crisis, surpassing the previous record of 853 set earlier this month.

The canoes will continue to be available for purchase online and at other stores. Other safety equipment, such as life jackets and thermal protection, will still be sold in stores in Calais and Grande-Synthe.

“The purchase of canoes will no longer be possible” in the Decathlon stores in Calais and Grande-Synthe, near Dunkirk, “given the current context,” the retailer told AFP.

The items were not used for their original sporting purpose, but “could be used to cross the Channel,” he said. In such cases, “people’s lives would be in danger,” the retailer said.

The stores themselves had decided to stop selling the canoes and management had approved the decision, Decathlon said.

Earlier on Tuesday, French police cleared a large migrant camp that housed around a thousand people hoping to reach Britain. Tensions are high between London and Paris over the Channel crossing.

French Home Secretary Gerald Darmanin spoke to his British counterpart, Priti Patel on Monday, but only after giving a straightforward interview in which he said Britain should “stop using us as a punch-bag in its domestic policy ”.


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