United Kingdom

More than 500 people have already made it across English Channel since start of 2021 

Over 500 people have already crossed the English Channel this year, after dozens of migrants were intercepted and detained by Border Force on Saturday.

Home Office officials confirmed that 87 people made the treacherous crossing in four separate incidents yesterday, as people smugglers took advantage of warm and calm conditions in the world's busiest shipping lane.

They said all adults who have arrived today have been tested for Covid 19 with one person testing positive.

The boats were picked up in the Channel by Border Force cutters and brought in to the Port of Dover in Kent. One vessel was spotted in the middle of the Dover straits with 20 people on board.

Video was posted on facebook of the inflatable looking overloaded. 

A man speaking in English could be heard in a desperate cry pleading: 'Help, help. Somebody help!' 

French authorities also prevented two attempted crossings involving 51 people. 

The latest arrivals take the number of migrants that have been detained by Border Force in 2021 to 531, almost double the 279 people intercepted in January and February last year.

Home Office officials confirmed that 87 people made the treacherous crossing in four separate incidents yesterday, as people smugglers took advantage of warm and calm conditions in the world's busiest shipping lane

Pictured: Hundreds of boats, used by people thought to be migrants, stored at a warehouse facility in Dover, Kent, after being intercepted in The Channel by Border Force as attempts to make the crossing continue.

This month officers found 308 people in 18 separate incidents, and in January found 223 people in 15 incidents.

It compares to just 87 migrants in at least six boats in January 2020 while in February 2020 there were 192 in 12 boats.

It is thought groups trying to make the crossing are taking advantage of the good weather this weekend with conditions expected to deteriorate today.

The French Maritime Prefecture of the Channel and the North Sea has warned of strong tidal swells from Sunday to Tuesday all along the French coast.

This means the tidal range and difference in water height between high and low tide will be larger than normal.

And this results in huge crashing waves and stronger currents as the sea level rises and falls back a long way out from shore.

A strong tide is considered to be a coefficient of 95 upwards but Monday is expected to peak at 106.

The Maritime Prefecture says the greater mixing of water can 'make sea currents stronger and the sea more dangerous' and advises caution if entering the water.

The latest arrivals take the number of migrants that have been detained by Border Force in 2021 to 531, almost double the 279 people intercepted in January and February last year

Dozens of migrants packed onto three boats were yesterday detained at Dover by Border Force as people smugglers took advantage of calm conditions across the Channel. Pictured: Dover on Saturday

The migrants were brought to the Port of Dover by Border Force, with images showing at least three children among them

Pictured: Migrants including two children arrive at Dover yesterday after being picked up by Border Force in the Channel

A Home Office spokesperson said of the latest crossings: 'People should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach and not risk their lives making these dangerous crossings. We are continuing to pursue the criminals behind these illegal crossings.

'Police patrols on French beaches and enhanced intelligence sharing between our security and law enforcement agencies has helped to prevent crossings.

'The Government is also returning illegal migrants who have no right to stay in the UK to safe countries. In January, new rules were introduced which make asylum claims inadmissible where people have travelled through safe countries to get to the UK through illegal routes.'

The latest arrivals takes the number of migrants have been detained by Border Force officers this month to 308 in 18 incidents surpassing January's figures of 223 in 15 incidents.

It compares to just 87 migrants in at least six boats in January 2020 while in February 2020 there were 192 in 12 boats.

In 2020 a record 8,410 arrived last year - dwarfing 2019's total of 1,850.

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