More than 170 migrants try to cross Channel in one day as dozens detained at Dover

Charles Hymas
·2-min read
A group of migrants are escorted by French authorities and handed over to Border Force officials at Dover - STEVE FINN
A group of migrants are escorted by French authorities and handed over to Border Force officials at Dover - STEVE FINN

More than 170 migrants attempted to cross the Channel today with nearly 50 reaching the UK on one of the busiest days of the year so far.

Forty-nine migrants were detained at Dover after crossing the Channel in small boats but 126 were intercepted by the French including 30 who were rescued after their vessel’s engine failed.

Watch: Spanish Police find migrants hidden in recycling and toxic ash

It means that crossings this year are continuing at the record levels of 2020 despite the intensified crackdown in France, backed by an extra £28 million by the UK Government to put more police patrols on the beaches and increase surveillance by CCTV and drones.

A lull in bad weather and warmer temperatures saw four boats make the crossings through the night. They were mainly African in origin and included at least one teenager.

Border force and French security services have been forced to take on a surge in migrants seeking to cross the Channel in the past six weeks.

Border officials escort a group of migrants - Steve Finn
Border officials escort a group of migrants - Steve Finn

Until today the number of attempted crossings had increased by more than 50 per cent to 950 since the start of January, up from 630 in the same period last year.

However, the Anglo-French border forces have managed to block 70 per cent of the crossings, compared with 55 per cent last year.

Clare Moseley, founder of the charity Care4Calais, said the surge in migrants had taken place despite a crackdown by the French authorities which has seen trees chopped down to prevent camps, the confiscation of tents and migrants moved on every day.

“The French authorities have given all they have got. People are sleeping in shopping centre car parks, disused petrol stations and under the few bridges that haven’t had barbed wire installed,” said Ms Moseley.

Watch: What could scrapping EU labour rights mean for UK workers?