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Calais Decathlon halts kayak sales after products used by migrants for Channel crossings

A branch of Decathlon in Calais has stopped selling kayaks following reports that migrants were using them to attempt to cross the English Channel.

The sporting apparel brand chose to withdraw the single-person boats following concerns that migrants in the French city may be putting themselves at risk. It comes as the number of migrants crossing the Channel reached a new record last Thursday.

The Home Office said at the time the number of crossings was “unacceptable”.

A Government spokesperson added that Home Secretary Priti Patel was talking to her French counterpart about the matter.

On the same day (November 11) that it was recorded that 1,185 individuals had arrived in the UK after crossing the channel, French publication La Voix du Nord noted that three migrants had gone missing at sea after attempting the crossing in a kayak.

It added that earlier this month, a local firefighter who regularly rescues migrants in distress posted online that he was “shocked” after seeing migrants buying “inflatable canoes and vests” in the same store.

Decathlon said that the kayaks had been removed from shelves in Calais and Grande-Synthe – a suburb of Dunkirk – last Friday (November 12).

In a statement to French media, the brand said: “The recent increase in crossing attempts has indeed led our Decathlon Calais teams to question the position to be taken on the sale of products that can be diverted from their sporting use and serve as boats to cross the Channel.

“In consultation with the teams, we will now ensure not to allow the purchase of boats – including kayaks – which could endanger the lives of people using it as part of a crossing."

It continued: “We are committed to never putting our customers at risk in the use of our products, whatever the circumstances.”

Source: Express
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