More than 900 people intercepted attempting to cross Channel in single day

The UK authorities intercepted 405 people in 12 boats on Tuesday, while the French stopped another 538 people in 11 boats.

A group of people thought to be migrants including young children are brought in to Dungeness, Kent, by the RNLI following a small boat incident in the Channel
A group of people thought to be migrants including young children are brought in to Dungeness, Kent, by the RNLI following a small boat incident in the Channel

More than 900 people have been intercepted in small boats crossing the English Channel in what is thought to be the largest number of migrants attempting to reach the UK in a single day so far this year.

The UK authorities intercepted 405 people in 12 boats on Tuesday, while the French stopped another 538 people in 11 boats.

Among those to arrive were several children, including a baby, who were brought to shore by an RNLI lifeboat at Dungeness, Kent.

Another 279 people were intercepted in nine boats on Wednesday with the French stopping 25 people on one boat on the same day.

Migrant Channel crossing incidents
A group of people including young children are brought in to Dungeness, Kent, by the RNLI (Gareth Fuller/PA)

More than 2,500 people have crossed the Channel since the start of the year, with 28,526 making the crossing in 2021.

A Home Office spokeswoman said joint operations with the French had “prevented more than 23,000 migrant attempts” in 2021 and 19 small boat organised criminal groups had been dismantled with 400 arrests since July 2020.

Tom Pursglove, minister for justice and tackling illegal migration, said: “The rise in dangerous Channel crossings is unacceptable.

“Not only are they an overt abuse of our immigration laws but they also impact on the UK taxpayer, risk lives and our ability to help refugees come to the UK via safe and legal routes. Rightly, the British public has had enough.

“Through our Nationality and Borders Bill, we’re cracking down on people smugglers and fixing the broken system by making it a criminal offence to knowingly arrive in the UK illegally and introducing a maximum sentence of life imprisonment for those who facilitate illegal entry into the country.

“Our targeted work with French authorities led to over 500 people (being) intercepted before attempting this treacherous journey to reach the UK.”

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