Decathlon stops canoe sales in northern France to curb migrant passengers | France

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

Tuesday’s announcement came as hundreds of people crossed the canal by boat in what was a busy day for British search and rescue forces. There were several landings along the Kent coastline, including about 60 people who landed at Dungeness shortly before noon.

On Friday, three migrants were reported missing after trying to cross the canal to Britain in canoes, while two canoes were found drifting off Calais on Thursday and two people were fished out of the water.

A jet ski believed to have been used in a migrant crossing is being inspected in Dungeness, Kent. Photo: Gareth Fuller / PA

The Interior Ministry said 1,185 people arrived on small boats on Thursday, a record for the current migration crisis, which exceeded the previous high of 853 set earlier this month.

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

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

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

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

Earlier Tuesday, French police cleared a major migrant camp that was home to about a thousand people hoping to reach Britain. Tensions are high between London and Paris across canal crossings.

The French interior minister, GĂ©rald Darmanin, spoke with his British counterpart, Priti Patel, on Monday, but only after giving a live interview in which he said Britain should “stop using us as a scapegoat in their domestic policy” .

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