Hundreds of migrants cross Channel to UK on first day of autumn

PA

Huge numbers of migrants reached the UK on Tuesday in a flurry of small boat crossings.

A wave of people took advantage of calm seas in the Channel, with hundreds intercepted as they headed towards Britain.

Significantly more than 300 migrants made the crossing, the PA news agency understands. The precise figure has yet to be confirmed by the Home Office.

Even with extra resources deployed to the Dover Strait, Border Force was busy for more than 13 hours dealing with crossings along more than 65 miles of coastline.

Border Force vessel, HMC Seeker, in Dover marina in Kent, after a small boat incident in the English Channel (Gareth Fuller/PA)
Border Force vessel, HMC Seeker, in Dover marina in Kent, after a small boat incident in the English Channel (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Dozens of people thought to be migrants were seen arriving in Dover harbour wrapped in blankets and wearing lifejackets.

They included children, including one in a pink jacket who was too young to walk.

Many had to queue before they were allowed to disembark from Border Force boats because of the volume of arrivals.

Border Force cutter Seeker, pictured making a rare visit to the inner harbour to drop off the migrants, was part of a scaled-up contingent of vessels that were busy in the Channel on Tuesday.

The agency had at least five boats in operation on Tuesday: cutters Seeker and Searcher and patrol boats Hunter, Speedwell and Eagle.

A police boat was also operating in the Channel along with a coastguard helicopter and the RNLI.

A group of people, thought to be migrants, waiting on a Border Force rib to come ashore at Dover marina in Kent (Gareth Fuller/PA)
A group of people, thought to be migrants, waiting on a Border Force rib to come ashore at Dover marina in Kent (Gareth Fuller/PA)

The agencies were kept busy along 65 miles of coastline across East Sussex and Kent for several hours.

September has been the busiest month for crossings on record, with a week still to go.

Tuesday’s flurry of crossings came despite despite Home Secretary Priti Patel’s vow to make the route across the Channel “unviable”.

In France, authorities rescued at least 88 people trying to cross to the UK.

Patrol vessels were busy for more than 14 hours as several boats carrying migrants were intercepted off the coast.

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