Controversial comedienne Joan Rivers was quizzed by a squad of balaclava-clad UK Border Agency officials – after being mistaken for an illegal immigrant.
The American star was on a weekend fishing trip in the Lees Court Estate in Faversham, Kent, filming her latest reality show when the hilarious mix-up occurred.
Joan was visiting her close friend The Countess Sondes, when the immigration agents dressed in black and wearing balaclavas stopped the stunned star.
The agency had received a tip-off regarding a suspicious group of people on two fishing trawlers on the Swale Estuary, Kent, a well-known spot for illegal immigrants.
Burly Border Agency officers swooped on the site, expecting to find a gang of foreign imposters but instead found Joan, her daughter Melissa and a film crew.
The team were recording an episode of ‘Joan and Melissa, Joan Knows Best!’ for US television on October 20.
But after a discussion with the estate manager the border agency realised there mistake and allowed Joan to go back to work.
Funny woman Joan said: “Even though we were innocent I am so sorry they didn’t arrest us.
“I love Englishmen and they were very cute.”
A spokeswoman for the estate said: “It was all very dramatic.
“Joan was hilarious throughout the whole time she was with us.
“The Border Agency did not have the same sense of humour – they understandably took the situation very seriously.
“They were all dressed in black and were wearing balaclavas but you could still see their face – they were very efficient not the sort of people you would want to mess with.
“But they were very professional and did a fantastic job – it’s great to know people like that are protecting our shores.”
Lady Sondes said: “Given the Lees Court Estate’s close involvement with the Swale, it was a great comfort to know that the Border Agency acted in a pro-active, efficient and friendly manner.”
The UK Border Agency confirmed the incident but said they were on a routine patrol when they spotted the vessel and were not acting on a tip off.
A spokeswoman said: “Our officers will investigate any potential immigration or customs offences and take swift and robust action to ensure our borders remain secure.
“On 20 October 2012, whilst on routine patrol, Her Majesty’s Cutter Vigilant approached a fishing vessel in the Swale Estuary, Kent.
“Border Force officers spoke with the captain of the vessel to establish ownership and number of passengers.
“After a short discussion, Border Force officers were satisfied the passengers and crew did not present a risk to the border.
“The search of any vessel in UK territorial seas and internal waters plays an important role in protecting the border.
“Presently there is no means of establishing, with any certainty, where a vessel has come from until Border Force officers have spoken to the captain, crew and in some cases boarded the vessel.
“In the vast majority of instances, officers will take no more than a few minutes to satisfy themselves as to whether a vessel presents a risk to the border.”