File photo: African News Agency (ANA)

Lille - A 70-year-old retired British navy captain and two other Britons have been given jail sentences in France for trying to smuggle a dozen Vietnamese migrants across the Channel in a motorboat, prosecutors said Tuesday.

The three men were arrested last Thursday a few kilometres (miles) from the coast near the village of Wimereux in northern France after a tip-off from British authorities, local newspaper la Voix du Nord reported.

The retired naval captain, Ronald Scott, was sentenced to 30 months and given a 10-year ban from French territory on Monday, while the other two were given sentences of one and two years respectively, the local prosecutors' office in Boulogne-sur-Mer told AFP. 

Each migrant had paid 9,000 euros ($10,500) for the short trip from the French coast to Britain, the prosecutor said.

France's northern coast remains a magnet for migrants looking to cross the Channel, with police and the coast guard fighting a constant battle against people smugglers.