More than 13,000 migrants crossed the Channel this year - far higher than 2020 total

ITV News Correspondent Neil Connery reports on the latest migrant crossings in Dover

More than 13,000 migrants have crossed the Channel so far this year after huge numbers made the crossing on Monday.

ITV News understands around 740 people were found making the dangerous crossing on Monday.

The 2021 total is already far higher than 2020's total of 8,417, even though there is still more than a quarter of the year left.

Numbers have been rising sharply in recent years with each subsequent year seeing far higher totals than the previous year.

  • Migrants speak to ITV News as they make the crossing from France to England on Tuesday

2018 saw 297 migrants making the crossing, rising to 1,823 in 2019.

This means 2021's numbers are already more than a 4,000% increase than the entirety of 2018's.

Monday's numbers come close to the previous daily high of 828 which was recorded on 21 August this year.

A group of people are brought ashore from the local lifeboat at Dungeness in Kent Credit: PA

Dan O’Mahoney, Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, said: "This unacceptable rise in dangerous crossings is being driven by criminal gangs and a surge in illegal migration across Europe.

"We’re determined to target the criminals at every level, so far, we have secured nearly 300 arrests, 65 convictions and prevented more than 10,000 migrant attempts."

"But there is more to do. The Government’s New Plan for Immigration is the only credible way to fix the broken asylum system, breaking the business model of criminal gangs and welcoming people through safe and legal routes."

The crossings, which are usually done on small boats and dinghies, are extremely dangerous as the Channel is prone to choppy waters and is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.

A group migrants are escorted along the beach after arriving in a small boat Credit: PA

On Monday, a baby and several young children were among a large group of migrants brought ashore.

A packed lifeboat was pictured arriving on a beach in Dungeness in Kent.

While officials led passengers away, one woman was seen clutching a small baby who was strapped to her.

Images show other young boys and girls being carried or escorted to safety among several men and women.

Eyewitnesses on Monday described authorities including Border Force, and the RNLI, as appearing to be very busy as a steady stream of crossings was thought to be under way amid calm waters and sunny skies.

In Parliament on Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Home Secretary Priti Patel is “working around the clock” to ensure France impedes the passage of migrants across the Channel.

Answering a question from Conservative MP Jacob Young, Mr Johnson said: “My honourable friend is completely right and, of course, the issue is that very sadly I think our friends across the Channel in France are faced with a very difficult problem.

“A large number of people want to come to this country, and we are doing everything we can to encourage the French to do the necessary and impede their passage.

“But I know the Home Secretary is working right around the clock to ensure that we not only encourage the French to stiffen their sinuses and stop people making the journey, but we use every possible tactic available to us as well.”