More than 500 migrants cross English Channel in three days - as Royal Navy is asked for help

More than 500 migrants have crossed the English Channel to the UK in just three days.

Sunday, 9th August 2020, 9:31 am
Border Force cutter Seeker in the harbour at port of Dover as more migrants are brought ashore. Picture: Michael Dummond/PA Wire

Dozens more migrants braved the dangerous crossing to Britain on Saturday, prompting an hours-long search and rescue operation.

Individuals wearing blankets and lifejackets were seen arriving in Dover aboard a Border Force boat on Saturday afternoon, while others were reported to have landed on Kent beaches.

A total of 151 migrants reached the UK via small boats on Saturday, the Home Office confirmed.

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Picture: Michael Dummond/PA Wire

It comes as Home Secretary Priti Patel appointed a former Royal Marine to the role of ‘clandestine Channel threat commander’.

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Her Home Office has been accused of having ‘lost control’ after a new single-day record for migrant crossings was set on Thursday.

Border Force has been dealing with an unprecedented surge in crossings in the latter part of this week.

Picture: Michael Dummond/PA Wire

At least 532 migrants - some as young as babies - successfully reached the UK between Thursday and Saturday, figures show.

They were seen being brought ashore in Dover, just a few hundred metres away from where beachgoers basked in the roasting 33C sunshine.

The Home Office has now made a formal request for support from the Royal Navy to deal with migrants attempting to cross the English Channel in small boats.

In a statement, the MoD said: ‘We are assessing the requirement using the formal Military Aid to the Civilian Authorities process and are working hard to identify how we can most effectively assist.

‘As ever the MoD will do all it can to support HMG requirements.’

Earlier on Saturday, it was announced that the Home Secretary has tasked former Royal Marine Dan O'Mahoney with delivering her ambition of making the English Channel ‘unviable’ for migrants in small boats.

Ms Patel said: ‘The number of illegal small boat crossings is appalling.

‘We are working to make this route unviable and arresting the criminals facilitating these crossings and making sure they are brought to justice.

‘Dan's appointment is vital to cutting this route by bringing together all operational partners in the UK and in France.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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