40 migrants have been caught so far. | Majorca Daily Bulletin reporter

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Just 24 hours after the Balearic government asked central government for extra resources to try and combat illegal immigration in the islands, a total of 40 migrants have been intercepted in the last few hours after arriving by boat in Mallorca and Ibiza.

According to the Central Government Delegation to the Balearics, at around 23.00 hours on Tuesday, the National Police in Ibiza intercepted in six people who had arrived in a skiff in the Figueretes area, allegedly with 14 occupants. The search for the rest of the migrants continues.

Later, at 23:50 hours, a total of 15 people were spotted off the coast of Mallorca. All are from North Africa origin and are said to be in good health.

Then, at 03:00 hours, a total of 19 migrants were also intercepted in Mallorca.

On Tuesday, the skipper of a boat that arrived in the Balearics in September was sentenced to four years in prison, the highest sentence imposed so far against a person found guilty of smuggling illegal immigrants into the region from North Africa.

The accused accepted the sentence after a deal was struck between the prosecution and his defence. He admitted to having sailed a boat from Algeria to Formentera with 13 immigrants on board. All of them had paid between 1,000 and 1,300 euros for the trip.

The prosecution, which demanded six years in its initial accusation, highlighted the risk involved in the crossing in a boat with a single engine. This is the second conviction so far this month against nautical people smugglers.

On May 5, the skippers of a boat that had also arrived in Formentera on February 11 this year with eight passengers appeared in court in Palma. Both were given a one-year suspended sentence and banned from the Balearics for two years.