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Calais migrant camp cleared by police for third day in a row

Migrants carry what they own in bin bags as police clear a migrant camp near Calais. Credit: PA

French police have cleared a Calais migrant camp for the third time in as many days.

Officers – some who appeared to be armed with tear gas guns – cordoned off the road by an area of wasteland and woodland on the outskirts of the port town on Friday morning, telling those camping there to leave and move their tents.

Many of the migrants walked off, carrying their remaining belongings in bin bags while officials were seen throwing rubbish and possessions including tents into a large skip.

The camp – being used by young men predominately from Africa – was cleared on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday morning, with aid volunteers claiming evictions have also taken place twice more this week so far.

Police clear a migrant camp near Calais Credit: Steve Parsons/PA

Charities condemned the repeated upheaval and displacement of the refugees and called for governments to provide them help and support in order to find permanent accommodation and work.

Care4Calais accused the police of relentless intimidation tactics in a bid to move on refugees.

The latest clearance comes after aid workers claimed there is a “direct correlation” between a spike in the number of migrants trying to cross the Channel and large-scale evictions of camps in France.

Migrants were living in flimsy tents pitched by the side of a road. Credit: PA

The dire living conditions and heightened security are also playing a part in prompting more people to risk their lives by taking to small boats in a bid to reach the UK coast, according to Help Refugees.

The comments from the charity, which provides humanitarian aid and advocacy for refugees, came amid the wave of camp clearances and a looming eviction of a Dunkirk gym – currently thought to be housing more than 70 families, many of whom have young children – after a court order was issued.

It is expected to be cleared in the coming days after being postponed from Thursday.

Earlier this year the United Nations called on France to act on the conditions of refugees and migrants sleeping rough in Calais and to stop systematically evicting people from tents which it said was in violation of their human rights.

Migrants at a camp in France are seeking to get to the UK Credit: Steve Parsons/PA

Care4Calais called on the UK Government to provide “safe legal routes” for migrants by setting up a centre in France so asylum applications can be submitted and processed before they enter the country.

The charity thinks this would put a stop to the rise of Channel crossings as the paperwork is already being processed and so would stop smugglers in their tracks as fewer people would turn to them for help.

On Tuesday at least 86 men, women and children crossed the Channel to the UK – thought to be the most in a single day so far.

Border Force cutters are continuing to patrol the Channel while drones, CCTV and night vision goggles are used.

Last month, Home Secretary Priti Patel said urgent action was needed to put a stop to the wave of crossings, after she met French interior minister Christophe Castaner in Paris.

More detail on the action plan is yet to be released.

The Home Office declared the matter a major incident under former home secretary Sajid Javid and pledged millions of pounds to tackle the crisis, dispatching the three cutters.

A plan drawn up in January included a £6 million investment in security equipment, CCTV coverage of beaches and ports and a mutual commitment to return migrants under international and domestic laws, the department said.

But the number of migrants taken in by UK authorities so far this year is thought to have already passed 1,000.