Decathlon stops selling kayaks in bid to prevent migrant crossings


The French sports equipment company said it would stop selling the small boats in stores in the seaside cities of Calais and Boulogne, as well as a surburb of Dunkirk, after reports of migrants going missing while attempting to cross the English Channel in kayaks.

“Our in-store team members have alerted us to the fact that the boats we sell — kayaks in particular — can be used by migrants looking to cross the Channel,” the company said in a statement.

“The risks they take are considerable, which leads us to withdraw all of these products from sale in stores in all the sites of the Opal Coast: Decathlon Calais, Grande-Synthe, le Touquet-Paris-Plage and Boulogne-sur-Mer. It will only be possible to buy them online with home delivery,” it added.

The move comes amid record numbers of migrants crossing the English Channel in small boats to reach British shores. On Thursday, just over 1,000 migrants crossed the Channel into the United Kingdom, a Home Office spokesperson told CNN, setting a new daily record.

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More than 23,500 migrants have reached the United Kingdom after crossing the Channel this year, according to PA Media.

Many are risking their lives in hopelessly inadequate boats in a desperate attempt to cross one of the busiest shipping lanes on the planet.

Decathlon’s announcement came the same day France’s regional maritime prefecture said it rescued 272 people adrift in the English Channel as they tried to reach the United Kingdom.

The crossings have become a cause of tension between the United Kingdom and France, with the British government calling the number of migrants setting off from French shores “unacceptable,” in a statement to CNN last week.



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