Up to 60 Channel migrants seen landing at Dover

Young boy is among ‘up to 60’ Channel migrants landing at Dover today as people smugglers take advantage of balmy weather ahead of Priti Patel’s new crackdown on asylum seekers reaching UK illegally

  • Up to 60 migrants have been intercepted crossing the English Channel today
  • The group of mostly men arrived at the Port of Dover in a Border Force vessel
  • Concerns that good weather is encouraging more attempts to cross Channel
  • Comes ahead of Priti Patel’s crackdown on asylum seeker claims and tougher sentences for smugglers 

As many as 60 migrants have already arrived on British shores today – ahead of a crackdown on borders by Home Secretary Priti Patel.

People smugglers appear to be making the most of the hotter than usual weather conditions after Border Force vessels were seen bringing groups of mostly male migrants into the Port of Dover.

At least three rigid hulled inflatable boats – including a very large one – were brought into Dover Marina, Kent from 7am onwards.

They were helped ashore by masked officers wearing gloves. 

As many as 60 migrants have already arrived on British shores today during a break in bad weather in the Channel – ahead of a crackdown on borders by Home Secretary Priti Patel

A child aged around eight was among the first group brought in on the back of a black Border Force vessel.

The youngster, wearing a blue fur-lined jacket and denim jeans, appeared uneasy on their feet as they grappled on to the railings after disembarking.

Immigration Enforcement officers escorted the child and the other blanket-huddling migrants up the gangway for processing.

Their yellow RHIB filled with discarded lifejackets, a foot pump, oars and an outboard engine could be seen quickly taking on water in the harbour.

Other groups containing some older adults and many women were later brought to safety by Border Force.

A child aged around eight was among the first group brought in on the back of a black Border Force vessel in the Port of Dover

Sources say there could be more boats making a desperate dash across the busiest shipping route in the world during an unexpected break in bad weather.

Crossings were set to quieten down as March came to an end with a weather warning in place for strong tidal coefficients between Sunday and Wednesday.

A spokesman for the Maritime Prefecture of the Channel and the North Sea said: ‘The maritime prefect calls for the greatest caution all users of the sea, and in particular those who practice fishing on foot or who will walk on the coast subject to the tide. It can sometimes take a few minutes to be isolated by the rising tide.’

Waves were expected to be strongest today but this hasn’t stopped people smugglers jumping at the opportunity to facilitate crossings.

The arrivals come days after Home Secretary Priti Patel announced a crackdown on the organised criminal operation.


The arrivals come days after Home Secretary Priti Patel announced a crackdown on the organised criminal operation

For the first time, people who arrive in the UK illegally will no longer have the same entitlements as those who arrive legally under the Home Office plan

Speaking to the Commons, Ms Patel said she was introducing a ‘comprehensive, fair but firm’ plan which would address those entering the UK ‘illegally’.

For the first time, people who arrive in the UK illegally will no longer have the same entitlements as those who arrive legally under the Home Office plan.

There is also a push to introduce maximum life sentences for people smugglers.

There are concerns good weather on Britain’s south coast could be encouraging more people to make crossing of the world’s busiest shipping lane. 

Across the south, temperatures are expected to reach 24C (75F) today and Wednesday, the hottest for March in more than 50 years today.

It would mean Britain would be hotter than some parts of the Mediterranean, including the Spanish holiday isle of Majorca.

Kent Police were called to help locate and detain a group of at least five migrants who managed to land in Lydd.

A further 35 were brought into Dover Marina, Kent on the back of the Alert cutter shortly after 11am.

The last arrivals came late in the day as a group of five men huddling blankets were brought in on the back of a Border Force vessel with their blue RHIB in tow at around 4.30pm.

There are concerns good weather on Britain’s south coast could be encouraging more people to make crossing of the world’s busiest shipping lane. Across the south, temperatures are expected to reach 24C (75F) today and Wednesday, the hottest for March in more than 50 years today

French authorities also prevented three attempted crossings overnight into Thursday morning involving 79 people.

Minister for Immigration Compliance and Justice Chris Philp said last Thursday: ‘Yesterday, we announced the most significant overhaul of our asylum system in decades – a new fair but firm long-term plan to fix the UK’s broken asylum system.

‘Under these plans, we will break the business model of these cruel criminal gangs and protect the lives of those they endanger.’

The latest official Home Office figures mean 1,133 migrants have made the 21-mile journey so far this year.

And 602 have arrived in March on 30 boats – more than triple the 187 who arrived in 13 boats in the same month last year.

The daily record for the year was broken last Monday when 183 migrants were intercepted in six incidents.

In 2020 a record 8,410 migrants arrived by small boat – dwarfing 2019’s total of just 1,850. 

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