Record number of migrant crossings as UK basks in bank holiday sun

A huge surge in migrant crossings has taken place over the first two days of the bank holiday weekend, with at least 227 making it to the UK.

While the nation celebrated VE Day, a record 145 migrants were brought to Dover after making the perilous journey across the English Channel, the Home Office finally confirmed on Saturday evening.

This included 51 people packed on board a single inflatable boat.

Pictures taken at the busy trade port on Saturday showed people wearing face masks being processed by Border Force officials.

A humanitarian charity said it is “little wonder” that so many people are risking their lives to cross the dangerous Dover straits because of “awful conditions” in French refugee camps.

Coronavirus – Sat May 9, 2020
A man thought to be a migrant is processed by Border Force officers (Gareth Fuller/PA)

The 145 migrants dealt with by Border Force on Friday were found aboard eight inflatable boats between 2am and 9am.

This is believed to be a new single-day record after 102 were picked up on February 7, as the UK braced for Storm Ciara.

Those picked up on Friday said they were Iranian, Iraqi, Kuwaiti, and Afghan nationals.

Coronavirus – Sat May 9, 2020
Border Force officers prepare to bring to shore men thought to be migrants (Gareth Fuller/PA)

On Saturday, the Home Office said it intercepted a further 82 migrants.

Seventy of these were aboard inflatable boats, while 12 men were found at Dungeness on the Kent coast.

Since lockdown was announced in Britain on March 23, at least 836 migrants have been intercepted by UK authorities and brought ashore, according to data gathered by the PA news agency.

Brexit
Clare Moseley, founder of Care4Calais in a warehouse near Calais (Steve Parsons/PA)

Clare Moseley, founder of charity Care4Calais, said: “It’s little wonder people living in France’s refugee camps are desperate to make this dangerous crossing, given the awful conditions they face there.

“Coronavirus has made a bad situation life-threateningly worse. People are squeezed into tiny areas, they can’t social distance, and the support they relied on for survival is drastically reduced.

“These people are fleeing terrifying situations in some of the most dangerous parts of the world. They aim for the UK because they want to be safe.

“Many have family or other connections, and others know our language and want to integrate and contribute. Now more than ever, we need to give them a safe and humane way to have their requests for asylum fairly heard, that’s the way to end chaotic and dangerous channel crossings once and for all.”

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