Number of migrants to cross the Channel to the UK in small boats passes 8,000

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The number of migrants who have reached the UK after crossing the Channel in small boats this year has topped 8,000 for the first time – four times as many as in 2019.

And despite the recent tragic death of a Kurdish-Iranian family of five, dangerous crossings show no sign of slowing down – with more people making the journey in the first 10 days of this month than the entirety of October.

Border Force intercepted 159 migrants in six boats yesterday, meaning the total number of people who have made the journey across the Dover Strait this year now stands at 8,067.

And this figure will increase today after around 15 men wearing winter coats, woolly hats and red blankets to keep warm were brought into Dover Marina on the back of Border Force vessel Hunter at around 7.30am.

Border Force intercepted 159 migrants in six boats yesterday, meaning the total number of people who have made the journey across the Dover Strait this year now stands at 8,067. Pictured are the rescued migrants coming ashore at Dover 

This year’s total dwarfs the 1,850 who crossed the Channel, which is the busiest shipping lane in the world, in 2019.

A further 30 migrants were prevented from crossing by French authorities yesterday in the busiest day since October 17, according to the Home Office.

It takes the number of people to cross the Channel in November to 487, already surpassing the 463 who made it across in October.

Yesterday was the sixth consecutive day of crossings as people smugglers take advantage of a break in the bad weather.

Immigration officers detained 80 migrants in six incidents on Monday with the French stopping a further 50 from making the treacherous journey.

It came after 152 migrants crossed the Channel over the weekend.

And 56 made the journey on Friday following the path of 40 who arrived on Thursday.

There had been a lull in crossings before this since October 23 due to strong winds and heavy rain making already dangerous conditions at sea even more life threatening.

The boats last Thursday contained the first migrants to arrive since seven migrants died after their boat capsized off Dunkirk, including a Kurdish-Iranian family of five, when attempting the perilous journey on October 27.

Construction worker Rasoul Iran-Nejad, 35, wife Shiva Mohammad Panahi, 35, their daughter Anita, nine, and son Armin, six, all died.

Their 15 month old baby Artin remains lost at sea and is presumed dead.

Two other men who were on board the boat when it capsized off Loon-Plage near Dunkirk at around 9.30am are also believed to have died from the same boat.

A man thought to be migrant is helped up a walkway on Monday above boats recovered in previous crossings

A man thought to be migrant is helped up a walkway on Monday above boats recovered in previous crossings 

Clandestine Channel Threat Commander Dan O’Mahoney said following the latest crossings: ‘The criminals facilitating these crossings are breaking our laws and we are relentlessly going after them.

‘We are working side by side with France to increase beach patrols and enhance surveillance to stop the crossings at source, breaking up the ruthless gangs who facilitate this activity, and locking up the people smugglers responsible.

‘We are returning migrants who have no right to stay in the UK to safe countries with flights every week and will do whatever we can to make this route unviable.’

Minister for Immigration Compliance and the Courts Chris Philp added: ‘These crossings are facilitated by callous criminals who are breaking our laws by smuggling people illegally across the Channel.

‘France is a safe country where they should be claiming asylum. We are relentless in our pursuit of these dangerous offenders who are putting lives at risk.

‘In the last two weeks alone five people smugglers have been jailed, with more investigations under way and more arrests planned.’ 

The surge in crossings comes despite the tragic death of a Kurdish-Iranian family of five. Construction worker Rasoul Iran-Nejad, 35, (wife Shiva Mohammad Panahi, 35, their daughter Anita, nine, and son Armin, six, all died. Their baby Artin (left) remains missing

The surge in crossings comes despite the tragic death of a Kurdish-Iranian family of five. Construction worker Rasoul Iran-Nejad, 35, (wife Shiva Mohammad Panahi, 35, their daughter Anita, nine, and son Armin, six, all died. Their baby Artin (left) remains missing  

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