More than 23,500 migrants have crossed the English Channel to the UK so far this year

So many migrants have arrived that a makeshift reception in Dover is overwhelmed. An insider said conditions are shameful, ITV News Correspondent John Ray reports

More than 23,500 people have crossed the English Channel to the UK so far this year.

It comes as at least 1,185 people risked their lives to cross to the UK on small boats on Thursday - a new record in a single day for the current crisis.

A young girl wrapped in a red jacket was seen being carried ashore in Dover on Thursday, one of hundreds of people brought into the Kent port after being picked up at sea aboard 33 small boats.

Lifeboat crews and Border Force boats were busy well into the evening after spending hours intercepting boats in the Dover Straight throughout the day.

French authorities said they had intercepted seven small boats, preventing 99 people from reaching the UK.

Thursday’s total will surpass the previous single-day record for the current crisis of 853 set earlier this month.

Meanwhile, in French waters, three people are feared lost at sea after two kayaks were found adrift off the coast of Calais on Thursday morning, authorities in France said.

The Home Office's Clandestine Channel Threat Commander Dan O’Mahoney, who works with France to tackle Channel crossings, said it is "disappointing and shocking just how many migrants have managed to cross the Channel this week alone".

Dan O’Mahoney, the Home Office's Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, said he was told by one migrant they had been forced by smugglers at knifepoint to make the dangerous crossing

He spoke about how vulnerable the migrants are, recalling how one Iranian woman told him she was expecting to the coming to the UK in the back of a lorry.

Instead, she was driven in a lorry to a beach in the middle of the night, thrown out the back of the vehicle and forced into a boat at knifepoint.

He said: "These people are vulnerable, they're terrified and we have to go after the criminals who will stop at nothing to make profit by risking their lives."

He also said that France had stopped more than 18,000 attempted crossings so far this year.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he is focusing on closing off the crossing from the French beaches, explaining it is "very difficult for us to turn them (migrant boats) back, we want to do that but we want to do that in a safe, human way".

Boris Johnson says the government is working to close off the crossing from the French beaches and to differentiate between migrants who enter the UK legally and illegally

He said: "What I would say to our French friends is: if you close off the door to the corridor at the far end, then people won't come into the corridor at the other end.

"We need to close down that movement from the French beaches to the uk, if you want to stop people coming into France to come to the UK."

He added that another solution is changing the law to distinguish between migrants who enter the UK legally and illegally.

He said: "That's what the Sovereign Borders Bill does, that's what Priti Patel's bill will achieve. It will make, I think, an important difference in the way that we're able to treat people who arrive here illegally."

Over the past few weeks, others have also been reported missing during the perilous crossing, and two people have been confirmed to have died. Border officials were busy well into Thursday evening in Dover as they worked to process the many arrivals.

Children wrapped in jackets and blankets against the autumn chill, some carried in the arms of adults, were among being helped onto the quayside throughout the day.

Border Force vessel Seeker leaves the Port of Dover in Kent Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA

Further along the coast, more people were reportedly seen arriving on Hastings beach after being picked up by the RNLI.

In 2019, Home Secretary Priti Patel promised to make migrant crossings an “infrequent phenomenon” by spring 2020 and then pledged in August last year to “make this route unviable”.

During this time, the government has agreed to pay France millions of pounds to increase security on its northern coast.

Despite the increasing numbers of small boats arrivals, the UK continues to see far fewer boat arrivals and asylum claims than many of its European counterparts.

At least 100,907 people have arrived in Europe via the Mediterranean by land and sea so far this year, according to data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

At least 1,313 people are estimated to be dead or missing, according to the same data.