The Iranian migrants in Calais determined to enter Britain at any cost

Iranian migrants in northern France have told ITV News they are determined to take whatever risks necessary to enter Britain.

Growing numbers of migrants from Iran are using small boats to enter British ports or land on beaches, as tightened security makes it more difficult to get past border checkpoints.

Entering the country illegally by boat is not a cheap option.

The migrants camping rough in Calais told ITV News they had paid thousands of Euros to make the journey to the UK - only to be abandoned by their smuggler before the Channel crossing.

Ahmed's father paid €50,000 (£44,000) for his son to make the difficult journey from Iran, which got him as far as Calais. Since arriving there the smuggler has cut off communication, leaving Ahmed to try to find his own way to England.

The journey across the Channel - which can cost between €1,000 and €12,000 per person - can also be a perilous journey.

Ahmed recently backed out of a crossing when he saw how rough the sea was the day he was due to travel.

"One day I go with the boat, and it was very, very dangerous," he told ITV News.

He said there were 10 people on a four metre boat.

But others are luckier.

A video shows a group of six Iranian crossing a calm English Channel on the final leg of their journey from Tehran earlier this month, escorted by dolphins.

They have since applied for asylum and are now split between Liverpool and London.

The squalid camp at Calais where Migrants wait for their chance to cross to Britain. Credit: ITV News

The conditions in the camps are squalid and the migrants are repeatedly chased away by French police who throw tear gas at them, ripping up their tents and destroying the few possessions they have, forcing the Iranians to flee, only for them to return once the officers leave.

Despite this, another Iranian migrant who spoke to ITV News said, with a wry smile, that the French police are "actually quite nice".

Iranian police, he said, would not just take their possessions and destroy their temporary homes - they would kill them.

Lieutenant Ingrid Parrot, of the French Coastguard, said there has been a "total explosion" in the increase of migrants crossing the border.

In recent months she said there were 37 crossings with a total of 250 migrants but two years ago there were only 23.

The migrants' plight is eased slightly by charities, such as the UK-based Care4Calais who provide support to the asylum seekers, giving out warm clothing, tents and sleeping bags as well as much needed social interaction and support.

Many of those seeking asylum in Calais are middle class and well educated.

A child in the camp. Credit: ITV News

They are fleeing religious and political persecution.

Most of the migrants ITV News spoke to were Christian, some recently converted from Islam after being persecuted by what they consider to be a dogmatic religious regime.

As more refugees succeed in crossing to Britain, more are inspired to try - even if it means risking their lives on small boats in rough seas.

Volunteer groups, like the UK's Care4Calais help assist migrants with food and supplies. Credit: ITV News

The water is dangerously cold at this time of year, but despite the risks, some migrants have been known to swim out to ferries and boats.

David and Jacob, two Jewish-Iranians told ITV News they know someone who made it across by clinging to a ferry.

As the weather deteriorates along with conditions in the camp, many more are determined to make that final crossing on their long journey from Iran - at whatever cost.