More than 200 migrants in 18 dinghies are intercepted in the English Channel


Border Force officials have detained 223 migrants in 18 dinghies after they crossed the English Channel to reach the UK on Monday – as French authorities stopped another 106 people making the crossing.

More migrants have been setting out from the coast of France while the weather is warm in a desperate attempt to reach the UK before autumn.  

It comes after 21 migrants made the journey across the Channel to the UK over the weekend in two separate crossings.

Yesterday’s arrivals meant at least 5,800 refugees have now successfully made it to the UK this year.

The Home Office released official numbers late on Monday night relating to the treacherous crossings. 

Dan O’Mahoney, Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, said he has been working with counterparts in France to ‘make this route completely unviable’. 

Dan O’Mahoney, Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, said he has been working with counterparts in France to ‘make this route completely unviable’. Pictured, migrants on Monday

Migrants pictured making the treacherous Channel crossing on Monday September 7. It was one of eight boats and 106 people who were stopped making the journey by French authorities

Migrants pictured making the treacherous Channel crossing on Monday September 7. It was one of eight boats and 106 people who were stopped making the journey by French authorities

They also revealed a further 106 people in eight boats were stopped by French authorities before they could get into UK waters.

Mr O’Mahoney said: ‘These crossings are facilitated by criminals willing to risk people’s lives for money. 

‘France is a safe country with a fully functioning asylum system – those seeking refuge can and should claim asylum there.

‘I continue to work with my counterparts in France on a daily basis to make this route completely unviable, and this morning the French stopped more migrants leaving the coastline – though I recognise the number still reaching the UK remains too high.

‘We continue to return those who do not have a legitimate asylum claim despite barriers to removals under the Dublin Regulations and legal challenges.’

Meanwhile, a boat with a staggering 45 migrants had to be rescued after getting into difficulty off Dunkirk.

A woman and her young baby, thought to be migrants are brought into Dover, Kent, by Border Force officers following a small boat incident in the Channel

A woman and her young baby, thought to be migrants are brought into Dover, Kent, by Border Force officers following a small boat incident in the Channel

A Border Force officer comforted a young baby as a group of people thought to be migrants were brought into Dover, Kent, on Monday

A Border Force officer comforted a young baby as a group of people thought to be migrants were brought into Dover, Kent, on Monday

The zodiac-style craft was spotted just after 9am on Monday and towed back to port by coast guard cruiser Nordet.

A similar boat containing 16 people, including five women and four children, had also suffered engine failure.

They were collected by coastguard patroller Jacques Oudart Fourmentin and brought back to border officers at Dunkirk West port.

Pictures showed a group of four men wearing jackets and backpacks perched either side of their inflatable boat using huge shovels as makeshift oars to paddle across the Channel.

Two migrants were also found suffering hypothermia on board a boat spotted by a passing ferry.

They were recovered by the Jacques Oudart Fourmentin at 5.40pm and evacuated to the port of Calais by the National Sea Rescue Society’s all-weather canoe Notre Dame du Risban.

Yesterday's arrivals meant that at least 5,800 refugees have successfully made it to the UK this year. Pictured, young children were among those making the crossing yesterday

Yesterday’s arrivals meant that at least 5,800 refugees have successfully made it to the UK this year. Pictured, young children were among those making the crossing yesterday

The first incident came shortly after 6am when a coastal maritime surveillance boat Escaut rescued 15 people onboard a zodiac boat taking water off Calais.

A merchant vessel warned French authorities of five people in difficulty in the Dyck anchorage area north of Calais.

They were rescued by the all-weather canoe just after noon.

Yesterday, a suspected migrant was found hiding in a tourist’s roof box when drivers heard thumping sounds at a Kent service station.

The shocked driver was parked at Maidstone Services, after travelling back from Calais through the Eurotunnel, when a group of concerned motorists gathered after hearing a ‘thumping sound’ coming from the car’s roof box. 

A police spokesman said: ‘Kent Police was called at around 10.05am on Monday, September 7, 2020, following reports of a suspected migrant inside the roof box of a car at the M20 services near Maidstone.

The shocked driver was parked at Maidstone Services, after driving back from Calais through the Eurotunnel, when a group of concerned motorists gathered after hearing a 'thumping sound' coming from the car's roof box

The shocked driver was parked at Maidstone Services, after driving back from Calais through the Eurotunnel, when a group of concerned motorists gathered after hearing a ‘thumping sound’ coming from the car’s roof box

A police spokesman said: 'Kent Police was called at around 10.05am on Monday, September 7, 2020, following reports of a suspected migrant inside the roof box'

A police spokesman said: ‘Kent Police was called at around 10.05am on Monday, September 7, 2020, following reports of a suspected migrant inside the roof box’

‘Patrols attended the scene where the person was detained and enquiries commenced with Home Office immigration officers.’ 

The driver of the car, who wanted to remain anonymous, had travelled to the UK from Calais through the Eurotunnel.

He told the BBC: ‘When I got there, the security checked over the car. They had the dogs, the dog came in the car, they had the radar thing and everything, and they said, ”you’re ok to go”.

‘They let me through. So, how didn’t it detect anything?’

He said he felt sorry for the ‘plight of refugees’ and that he was ‘shocked more than anything’.

The driver of the car, who wanted to remain anonymous, said he felt sorry for the 'plight of refugees' and that he was 'shocked more than anything'

The driver of the car, who wanted to remain anonymous, said he felt sorry for the ‘plight of refugees’ and that he was ‘shocked more than anything’

The driver added: ‘You’d never believe it, in a roof box on a car.’ 

It comes after a screaming baby was among migrants rescued from another boat attempting to cross the channel this morning.  

Pictures taken in Dover showed Border Force officials hoisting up a baby from a boat to safety after the RNLI picked up another group of migrants in the Channel.

Two men were seen standing over a railing in Dover, preparing to lift the child to safety from a boat brought in from the Channel. 

Another Border Force official dressed in PPE and a protective vest clutched the child in his arms before lifting it up to his colleagues.

A Border Force official holds a screaming baby in his arms, as his colleagues stood over a railing above him, prepare to hoist the child to safety

A Border Force official holds a screaming baby in his arms, as his colleagues stood over a railing above him, prepare to hoist the child to safety

14 migrants were picked up in the Channel this morning and brought back to Dover. The RNLI transported the people using three separate boats

14 migrants were picked up in the Channel this morning and brought back to Dover. The RNLI transported the people using three separate boats

Another 14 migrants were found in a boat in another attempted crossing of the English Channel.

They were brought ashore in three separate boats by Border Force officials.

The inflatable boat used by the migrants was also brought into the harbour from the Channel by the Hunter vessel.  

Five men and one woman were picked up by coastal maritime surveillance cruiser Escaut and returned to border police at Boulogne-sur-Mer at 2.50pm on Sunday.     

A Border Force officer is seen carrying a baby at the port of Dover yesterday after a group of migrants were rescued from the Channel

A Border Force officer is seen carrying a baby at the port of Dover yesterday after a group of migrants were rescued from the Channel

No successful crossings were recorded on Saturday as far-right protesters clashed with police in Dover in reaction to a pro-migrant demonstration being held in the Kent town. 

Six men have been charged following anti-migration protests in Dover on Saturday, Kent Police said.

All six, aged between 28 and 51, have been bailed to appear at court on a later date, which the force did not state.

Chief superintendent Nigel Brookes said: ‘We made it very clear from the start that Kent Police would have officers in Dover and would not tolerate violence or disorder.

‘Whilst the majority of people demonstrated their views peacefully, there was a minority who did not. Thankfully our experienced officers intervened quickly when offences were committed, sought to keep the transport routes moving and balance the rights of those taking part in the protests.’   

21 migrants made the journey across the Channel to the UK over the weekend in two separate crossings

21 migrants made the journey across the Channel to the UK over the weekend in two separate crossings

An exhausted migrant, one of eight to have landed in Deal, Kent, yesterday, shivers as he lies on the beach wrapped in a blanket

An exhausted migrant, one of eight to have landed in Deal, Kent, yesterday, shivers as he lies on the beach wrapped in a blanket

Eight migrants were found to have landed on the beach in Deal yesterday and were cared for by the Coastguard

Eight migrants were found to have landed on the beach in Deal yesterday and were cared for by the Coastguard

The rival protests took place in the Kent town just days after a record 416 migrants made it to the UK after crossing the English Channel.  

Following days of bad weather, a flurry of migrant boats managed to cross the busy shipping lanes of the Dover strait to the UK on Wednesday, last week. 

At least 416 migrants packed onto two dozen boats for the crossing, a new single-day record.            

On Thursday, senior Home Office and immigration figures appeared before the Home Affairs Committee, which is conducting an inquiry into migrant crossings.

Chairwoman Yvette Cooper pressed them for answers on whether the Home Office will have any legal authority to return migrants to countries like France after December 31.

Another child is carried ashore from a boat by a Border Force official after being rescued in the English Channel

Another child is carried ashore from a boat by a Border Force official after being rescued in the English Channel

No successful crossings were recorded on Saturday as far-right protesters clashed with police in Dover in reaction to a pro-migrant demonstration being held in the Kent town

No successful crossings were recorded on Saturday as far-right protesters clashed with police in Dover in reaction to a pro-migrant demonstration being held in the Kent town

However she did not receive a full answer to the question, which she said she was ‘really surprised’ about.

Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, asked Mr O’Mahoney about suggestions made by a French politician that migrants come to the UK because it is easier to work illegally and ‘live undercover’.

Mr Loughton said: ‘It would appear that French members of parliament are party to putting around these misconceptions about how they are actually going to be looked after if they do make it to the UK.

‘That’s part of the problem, isn’t it, that people are coming here on a false premise?’

Mr O’Mahoney replied: ‘I think that’s absolutely correct.’

Later the same day, Home Secretary Priti Patel used Twitter to hail the deportation of 11 Syrian nationals to Spain.

One of the eight migrants that arrived in Deal yesterday shivers as he crouches on the beach wrapped in blanket

One of the eight migrants that arrived in Deal yesterday shivers as he crouches on the beach wrapped in blanket

An inflatable boat rests on the beach after washing up in Deal today with eight migrants aboard. The engine has fallen off and lies on the stones

An inflatable boat rests on the beach after washing up in Deal today with eight migrants aboard. The engine has fallen off and lies on the stones

She also continued her attacks on ‘activist lawyers’ which she says are frustrating the removal of migrants.

Amanda Pinto QC, chair of the Bar Council, said that lawyers should not be political targets for simply doing their jobs.

Concerns were raised over the deportation of the 11 Syrians when it emerged that they had been left ‘confused and distressed’ when they ended up alone on the streets of Madrid.

When their UK Government-chartered flight touched down in Spain authorities declined responsibility for them, and they were left alone until an aid group picked them up. 

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