Border Force intercepts at least seven more migrants off Kent coast

Border Force intercepts at least seven more migrants off Kent coast today after more than 1,000 arrived in the past 10 days alone

  • At least seven migrants have been picked up off the coast of Dover so far today 
  • Border Force crews were seen taking men and women to land from The Channel
  • More than 1,000 people have made the dangerous, illegal crossing in 10 days 

At least seven migrants have been picked up off the coast of Dover today following more than 1,000 arrivals in the past 10 days.

Border Force crews were seen out on the water off the Kent coast today after intercepting a boat carrying men and women.

The refugees will have been taken to Dover Harbour for Covid-19 testing, before they are then processed.

Today’s arrival marks another landing after over 1,000 men, women and children arrived at the UK from France.

After growing calls for extra help, the Royal Navy was yesterday deployed to help Border Force police the Channel.  

At least seven refugees were picked up off the coast of Dover on Sunday, as more than 1,000 people arrived in England in the past 10 days

The Royal Navy is set to help deal with crossings by teaming up with Border Force, after 90 people made the crossing on Friday

On Saturday evening the Ministry of Defence announced that it was sending a specialist team to provide support for ‘the daily running of Border Force operations’ after another 90 people made the crossing on Friday.

The Royal Navy has not been employed to help stop such crossings since January 2019.

The deployment comes after 10 consecutive days of landings, with refugees seen possing for selfies as they wait to be picked up in the English Channel. 

A task-force of around a dozen officers will help to plan and organise operations while working alongside Border Force officials, according to The Sunday Telegraph. 

‘Civilian authorities are not used to fast paced, large scale and constantly changing situations in the same way as the military. That’s what we do,’ an MoD source told the newspaper. 

The Royal Navy is set to advise on dealing with migrant crossings as it is used to ‘fast paced, large scale and constantly changing situations,’ a Ministry of Defence source has said 

Migrant camps have been dismantled in Calais, forcing refugees to move to more remote areas before making the crossing. 

Home Secretary Priti Patel has sparked a row with her French counterparts, however, after she said migrants are crossing the Channel to Britain because they believe France is a ‘racist country’ where they may be ‘tortured’. 

The Home Secretary’s inflammatory remarks, in a private meeting with Tory MPs, infuriated French politicians. One blasted: ‘Madam Patel is not a politician who does much thinking.’

Refugees preparing to cross the Channel are staying at a makeshift camp after French authorities carried out evictions at larger sites earlier this week. 

Europe’s top judges have condemned France for ‘degrading and inhumane’ treatment of asylum seekers in forcing them to sleep rough for months in ‘constant fear of being attacked or robbed’

But the row came as Europe’s top judges condemned France for ‘degrading and inhumane’ treatment of asylum seekers in forcing them to sleep rough for months in ‘constant fear of being attacked or robbed’. 

Tory MPs taking part in the Zoom conference call with Ms Patel also said she claimed to have been frustrated in her efforts to crack down on the Channel migrant crisis by No 10 – although both sides denied that last night. 

The private web chat with the Home Secretary came amid mounting anger on the Tory backbenches over how the Government was handling the migrant crisis. One MP claimed Ms Patel had told them: ‘France is a racist country. They would rather come to England.’

Last night, Government sources strongly denied that, insisting that the Home Secretary had only been passing on what migrants had been saying about France.

One stressed: ‘Priti made clear these were migrants’ views – not hers’, adding that the Home Secretary thought claims of possible torture if they returned to France were nonsense, pushed by activist lawyers.

Mystery British kingpin known as ‘The Banker’ controls multi-million pound cross-Channel people smuggling ring

By Max Aitchison, Abul Taher and Tim Finan for the Mail on Sunday  

A multi-million-pound cross-Channel smuggling racket is being masterminded by a UK-based criminal known as ‘The Banker’.

Details of the shadowy Godfather figure emerged during the French trial of a gang of Afghans who smuggled migrants into Britain on small boats and in the back of lorries. The revelation comes as new analysis showed more than 1,000 migrants crossed the Channel in the ten days up to last Thursday.

A court in Boulogne-sur-Mer heard how three smugglers, who charged an average of £3,000 for each ‘passenger’, were part of a sophisticated operation that used encrypted mobile-phone apps to pass information and collect payment.

Janmeer Ahmadzai, 28, his brother Amadjai Shanawaz, 29, and Kochai Juma Gul, 25 were in constant contact with associates in Britain, including an unidentified kingpin known as ‘Le Banquier’, the court was told.

In total, 1,004 migrants were brought ashore by the Border Force between August 4 and August 13, talking the total this year to 4,511

Judge Vincent Naegelin said orders to cram boats and lorries with migrants arrived by phone from ‘Le Banquier’ and evidence showed he controlled the gang’s finances.

The French national police conducted a year-long investigation into the Calais-based gang, secretly tracking their movements, photographing them and bugging their mobile phones. They arrested the men last month at a car park near the city’s main hospital, close to the notorious Jungle migrant camp.

The three men were found guilty of aiding illegal immigration into Britain. Gul was given a five-year prison sentence, Ahmadzai was jailed for four years and his brother for one year. Details of the case emerged as at least five more boatloads of migrants, including a reportedly pregnant woman and a child, arrived in Dover yesterday.

Another dinghy carrying six migrants was intercepted by a Border Force vessel about 1,000 yards off the coast before being escorted to Dover.

Throughout yesterday morning, dozens of migrants wearing lifejackets and wrapped in pale blue blankets were processed by officials wearing masks and gloves. Each had their temperature taken as part of checks for coronavirus. One frail, elderly man was seen leaving a Border Force vessel using a cane before the deck was sprayed with disinfectant.

In total, 1,004 migrants were brought ashore by the Border Force between August 4 and August 13, talking the total this year to 4,511.

That figure does not include those who were detained on shore or those who evaded capture and is more than twice the 1,900 seized during the whole of last year. Another 48 migrants were detained on Friday. Among them was a group of 11, including a distressed woman and a teenager who appeared to be her son, who were stopped by police on the busy A20 near the port.

The RNLI tow a small boat into Dover, Kent, following a number of small boat incidents in the Channel earlier today

It later emerged that Tony Benson, a British expat living in Lens, about 60 miles from Calais, may have provided the boat they used for their crossing.

Posting on Facebook, he wrote: ‘Yes, I gave it to them and wished them luck, and do you know why? I am well off, my kids and grandkids don’t go without, they have a house, a family, a school to go to, and I don’t have to worry about whether or not they will come home to find they don’t have one.’

Yesterday, a series of seemingly new inflatable rubber dinghies were seen being towed into Dover harbour after the Border Force had picked up their passengers. At least one was missing its outboard motor. Migrants often remove them when they are in sight of the English coast, so they cannot be turned back to France.

Favourable weather in the Channel and a crackdown by the French authorities on the migrant camps has encouraged more people to make the journey, despite Home Secretary Priti Patel’s vow to make the route ‘unviable’.

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