FORMERLY pateras – the boats bringing immigrants from North Africa – rarely made the crossing in winter.
Now they arrive year-round and the authorities were alerted after an empty boat was recently found in Raco del Conill cove in Villajoyosa.
Four of its occupants were located and transferred to the National Police police station in Benidorm, where they received assistance from the Red Cross.
Forty-eight hours later seven North African males were detained separately in Teulada-Moraira between 1.30am and 10.30am.
None could produce identity papers and one of them claimed to be a minor, police sources said later, also revealing that they almost certainly reached the coast in an empty boat found that morning at the El Portet beach in Moraira.
Six of the men were taken to the National Police in Benidorm while the minor was transferred to Denia.