Decathlon says it will stop selling kayaks in some stores in northern France in a bid to prevent migrants using them to make the dangerous sea crossing to England.
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.