More than 160 migrants have made the perilous journey across the English Channel in small boats in what is a record for a single day.

The Home Office said Border Force and partner agencies dealt with eight incidents on Wednesday after being alerted to small boats in the Channel travelling towards the UK.

There were 166 migrants in total, including one boat which had 48 males and 16 females presenting themselves as Iranian, Iraqi, Kuwaiti and Afghani.

It is the largest number of migrants to cross the Channel since 145 were brought to Dover on VE Day.

All 166 migrants were taken to Dover and assessed for any medical requirements. Credit: ITV News Meridian

A second vessel was carrying a group of 14 males, and a third had a group of 17 males and females.

Two more boats were carrying 16 males each, with one group presenting themselves as Iraqi, Kuwaiti, Iranian and Syrian.

A sixth boat was carrying a group of 13 males who presented themselves as Iranian and Iraqi nationals, and a seventh was carrying a group of 15 males who presented themselves as Iranian, Iraqi, Yemeni, Syrian, and Chinese.

In the eighth incident, a group of 11 males, who presented themselves as Yemeni and Sudanese nationals, were arrested on a beach at Samphire Hoe by Kent Police.

The Home Office said they were all taken to Dover and assessed to establish whether there were any medical requirements.

They have been transferred to immigration officials and will be interviewed, with transferals to detention "where appropriate", the Home Office said.

It's the largest number of migrants to cross the Channel since VE Day. Credit: Library Picture

The minister for immigration compliance and the courts, Chris Philp, said: "We are determined to stop migrants putting their lives at risk, and we are working tirelessly alongside the French government to do so.

"We will continue to pursue the criminals perpetrating these heinous crimes and prosecuting them for their criminal activity.

"Last year, immigration enforcement made 418 arrests, leading to 203 convictions for a total of 437 years."

Bella Sankey, director at Detention Action, said: "Chris Philp's faux concern for migrants rings hollow.

"The Home Office's strategy of trying to stop people seeking sanctuary in the UK is cynical and delusional.

"Why not create safe and legal routes? This would put the people smugglers out of business and reclaim Britain's proud tradition for protecting the persecuted."