Border Force catch up to 30 migrants during Channel dash

Night mission to Britain: Border Force catch up to 30 migrants during Channel dash under cover of darkness – as more than 7,500 make dangerous crossing this year

  • At least 30 migrants brought to Dover by a Border Force cutter this morning 
  • Adults are first to make treacherous voyage since Storm Barbara hit the UK
  • More than 7,500 migrants have made crossing this year with 433 in October

Dozens of migrants trying to reach the UK were today picked up by Border Force – as they joined more than 7,500 others who have crossed the Channel so far this year.

At least 30 migrants were brought to shore by the Border Force cutter after attempting the perilous journey under the cover of darkness on Friday. 

Photographs from Dover, Kent show migrants in life jackets and face masks walking from the harbour after disembarking a vessel which was intercepted in the Channel. 

The adults are the first to make the treacherous voyage since stormy conditions forced dozens to postpone their crossings when Storm Barbara hit Britain. 

Unconfirmed reports have suggested the migrants were intercepted on three small boats, one of which appeared to have been damaged at sea. 

Pictured: Migrants arrive in Dover, Kent today after attempting to cross the English Channel

Today’s arrivals (pictured) join more than 7,500 others who have crossed the Channel this year

In total, at least 7,540 migrants have now attempted to cross the English Channel this year compared to just 1,850 in 2019.

In September alone 1,954 made the crossing in small boats. So far this month, an estimated 433 migrants have been detained.

The latest crossing comes as the prison watchdog found migrants arriving in Kent are being processed at what resembles a ‘rubble-strewn building site’ after crossing the Channel.

Many were detained for days at a time in rooms with no sleeping facilities, showers or access to the open air, inspectors said.

A surprise visit to Home Office facilities by HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) exposed a series of failures.

Photographs from Dover, Kent show migrants in life jackets and face masks as they disembarked a vessel after being intercepted in the Channel

The adults are the first to make the treacherous voyage since stormy conditions due to Storm Barbara forced dozens to postpone their crossings

Unconfirmed reports have suggested the migrants were intercepted on three small boats, one of which appeared to have been damaged at sea (pictured)

In one case a 15-year-old boy was held for more than 66 hours and records were not clear as to why this had happened.

However, inspectors also found that detainees were almost all very positive about their treatment by staff.

Charities said the findings were ‘extremely disturbing’ and show the ‘brutal reality of how refugee children are treated in Priti Patel’s Britain’.

People traffickers are fuelling the rise in crossings, with criminals hiring French fishing boat crews to carry desperate migrants halfway across the Channel to evade military drones. 

Once in open water, asylum seekers clamber into pre-inflated dinghies held in the fishing boat to complete the rest of the perilous 21-mile crossing, reports suggest. 

The latest crossing (pictured) follows the arrival of 100 migrants who risked the dangerous journey in seven boats on Monday 

In total, at least 7,540 migrants have now attempted to cross the English Channel this year compared to just 1,850 in 2019

In September alone 1,954 made the crossing in small boats. So far this month, an estimated 433 migrants have been detained

The latest crossing follows the arrival of 100 migrants who risked the dangerous journey in seven boats on Monday. 

A day earlier, a man was found washed up on the beach at Sangatte near Calais.

His death on Sunday came on a night when several makeshift vessels were rescued at sea by the French coastguard – including six people found on two kayaks strapped together. 

The French prevented more than 550 people from making the trip over the weekend.

Pictured: Two migrants in life jackets and face masks arrive in Dover, Kent this morning

Hundreds of migrant boats stored in Dover warehouse will be donated to Sea Scouts and RNLI 

Government ministers last month confirmed that abandoned migrant boats will be donated to charities, after the proposal was made by Dover & Deal MP Natalie Elphicke.

Mrs Elphicke, who has been calling for a crackdown on illegal people-smuggling across the English Channel, approached Ministers about the idea in July.

It comes after MailOnline revealed they are being stored on an industrial estate in the Whitfield area of the Kent port town. 

Hundreds of the vessels once used by migrants are stacked up at the warehouse facility

Mrs Elphicke said she was keen to see if the vessels could be used locally by groups such as Walmer RNLI and the Sea Scouts.

The boats are stacked three high and in multiple rows and vary from fibreglass rowing boats to high tech large ribs used by unscrupulous gangs who exploit migrants’ desire to come to the UK. 

Long after having served their purpose in bringing people across the Channel, the boats, some of which cost thousands of pounds, lay discarded, deflated and damaged.

However, on Saturday a French navy warship was reportedly seen escorting a boat full of migrants across the Channel as more than 100 arrivals were intercepted in 11 small boats. 

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage blasted the French tactics, telling MailOnline: ‘It’s being going on for a long, long time. It’s just outrageous. This is one of the aspects that makes the British public very, very angry.’

Dan O’Mahoney, Clandestine Channel Threat Commander for Border Force, said: ‘These crossings are facilitated by callous criminals who smuggle people out of safe EU countries and put more pressure on our broken asylum system – delaying or denying support to those genuinely in need of protection.

‘We have committed to fixing the asylum system, to stop those who have no right to be in the UK coming here. The new system will be fairer and firmer and will be compassionate towards those who need our help, welcoming people through safe and legal routes. 

‘We are working closely with the French, who today stopped 33 people from making these crossings.’ 

Immigration minister Chris Philp said on Monday: ‘Yesterday’s tragic loss of life in France is a stark reminder of the perilous journey migrants face in the Channel.

‘This is why we doing all we can to stop these crossings and make this route unviable, including by tracking down the criminal gangs who are risking vulnerable people’s lives for profit.

‘Last week the Home Office and National Crime Agency made 12 arrests of individuals involved in people smuggling and illegal entry – and there will be more in the coming weeks and months.’

Mr Philp said British officials were working with the French to seize the people smugglers’ boats.

He added: ‘These journeys are not only dangerous and illegal but also unnecessary. France is a safe country with a well-functioning asylum system and there is no need to leave France by small boat.

‘We are committed to fixing the asylum system, to make it fairer and firmer, compassionate to those who need help and welcoming people through safe and legal routes.’ 

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