Migrant Channel crossings: More than 1,000 people in four days intercepted attempting perilous route

A group of people are brought into Dover after attempting to cross the Channel Credit: PA

More than 1,000 people have been intercepted attempting to cross the Channel in the past four days.

UK authorities rescued or intercepted 358 people from 10 boats, while the French authorities prevented at least 317 people in 11 boats from reaching Kent on Thursday and Friday.

On Thursday December 16, among the large numbers of people seen being brought ashore in Dover, was a young girl, wearing a woollen hat and gloves and clutching a teddy bear as she was led away from the water.

And on Sunday December 19 the UK authorities intercepted 274 people from 11 boats while the French authorities intercepted at least 178 people from five boats on Sunday and one on Saturday.

The latest crossings mean that since the start of the year, more than 27,000 people have reached the UK after navigating busy shipping lanes from France in small boats.

Border officers escort people into Dover Credit: PA

A total of 27 people are thought to have died last month, including seven women, a teenager and a seven-year-old girl, when their boat sank while trying to cross the Channel.

Dan O’Mahoney, clandestine Channel threat commander, said: “Last month’s tragedy is a devastating reminder of the dangers of Channel crossings.

"We are determined to work with our European and international partners to target the ruthless organised criminal gangs behind them.

He added, “Unbelievably, these gangs continue their deadly trade with more crossings taking place today, shamelessly putting lives at risk.

“People planning to make the journey should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach instead of risking their lives by crossing the Channel from a safe EU country.

“The Government’s New Plan for Immigration will be firm on those coming here via illegal routes and fair for those using safe and legal routes. This will reduce the pull factors in the current asylum and immigration system.”