As many as 100 migrants thought to have crossed English Channel, with many landing in UK

It is understood that up to 100 suspected migrants attempted to cross the Channel by small boat yesterday, with many reaching the UK after being picked up by Border Force.

Last night, the Home Office confirmed that 22 people, made up of males, females and claimed minors were rescued from two separate vessels just off the English coastline. They presented themselves as Iranian, Afghan, Pakistani and Filipino. 

However, the true number is thought to be significantly higher, with the Home Office saying they were still dealing with a number of other small boats in the Channel.

Figures compiled by the Telegraph show that so far this year, 1,192 people have arrived in the UK having crossed the busy waterway illegally. 

Dover MP Charlie Elphike dubbed it a “summer of chaos” after 542 migrants made the journey in June, July and August.

Dunkirk migrant camp

As many as 1,000 migrants are still living in camps in Northern France

Care 4 Calais / PA

In comparison, 297 people were caught attempting to enter Britain through the Channel in 2018.

Last month, Home Secretary Priti Patel met with her French counterpart Christophe Castaner to discuss the issue, and they pledged to “intensify joint action to tackle small boat crossings in the Channel” by “drawing up an enhanced action plan to deploy more resources along the French coast to intercept and stop crossings.”

Ms Patel said “I will not let the ruthless gangs of criminal people-smugglers continue to put lives in danger, which is why I’m doing everything in my power as home secretary to put a stop to these illegal crossings.”

“We’ve been working extremely closely with our French colleagues to tackle the use of small boats but we both agreed more needs to be done.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel meets with French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner

Home Secretary Priti Patel met with French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner at the end of August


Days later, some 66 migrants successfully crossed the Channel and reached the UK. 

This month, the number has already reached 97 and so far this year, only 65 people have been returned to Europe.

And there has been tragedy too. The body of an Iraqi migrant, who is believed to have drowned while trying to swim to Britain, was found at a wind farm off the coast of Belgium on August 23.

Pierre-Henri Dumont, Conservative MP for Calais told the BBC: “We need to understand that we can not monitor 400 or 500km of coast.” 

Speaking about migrants in Northern France, he said: “Now everyday they can see the English coast here in Calais. Do you really think controls, police forces, cameras, walls, will stop them from trying to cross? No, never.”


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