Tale of two crossings: 16 migrants make Channel dash in dinghy to reach UK… while thousands of Britons battle to get home after France is added to Covid quarantine list

  • 2 Border Force vessels containing migrants were seen arriving into Dover today
  • Officials were seen helping the migrants off the boat and onto dry land today
  • More than 900 migrants have arrived in Dover this month while waters calmer 

Some 16 migrants arrived in Dover today after making the treacherous journey across the English Channel this morning.

Two Border Force vessels containing migrants were seen arriving into Dover today – one of which contained five women.

More than 900 migrants have arrived in Dover this month as calmer waters over the Channel present an opportunity for crossings in small boats. No fewer than 4,468 people have made the perilous crossing this year.

But thunderstorms and torrential downpours are set to sweep across the UK in a three-day deluge this weekend, potentially making conditions worse and the crossing ever more life-threatening.

Officials were seen helping the migrants – all wearing orange life jackets – off the boat and onto dry land.

Last night, families made a last-minute dash across the Channel from France themselves in a desperate bid to make it home before the government’s 14-day quarantine kicked in at 4am.

From 4am onwards, all those arriving from France must quarantine for 14 days after the country reported a spike in coronavirus cases.

Around 16 migrants (some pictured) arrived in Dover today after making the treacherous journey across the English Channel this morning.

Two Border Force vessels containing migrants were seen arriving into Dover today – one of which contained five women (pictured today)

Officials were seen helping the migrants – all wearing orange life jackets – off the boat and onto dry land

More than 900 migrants (some pictured today) have arrived in Dover this month as calmer waters over the Channel present an opportunity for crossings in small boats

A UK Border Force official disinfects patrol vessel HMC Eagle as colleagues escort migrants picked up at sea toward the quayside

Officials were seen disinfecting patrol vessel HMC Eagle yesterday as migrants were escorted away

A Border Force vessel was seen arriving into Dover marina after picking up migrants crossing the Channel

UK Border Force officials escort migrants picked up at sea while attempting to cross the English Channel

No fewer than 4,468 people have made the perilous crossing this year. Pictured: Some migrants picked up today

Yesterday, a British expat living in France claimed he offered his large dinghy to 11 migrants to make the treacherous journey.

Tony Benson, who lives in Lens, a large town 100km from Calais, said he ‘wished the group luck’ after he drove up to the French coast to give away the inflatable device to people trying to reach the UK.

The migrants were intercepted yesterday morning under the white cliffs near the town centre after they landed on a beach next to the Port of Dover.

But 15 life jackets were counted at the spot where they came ashore suggesting others may have slipped away.

Mr Benson’s claim, posted in the Dover For The Delighted facebook page, received heavy criticism from residents of the British port town.

‘Ex Dover lad living in Lens, France here,’ wrote Mr Benson in a post about news reports of the migrants landing in Dover yesterday.

‘Just so you know, that rather large dinghy the refugees turned up in this morning was the one I take with the kids to Calais beach to use in the summer.

Tony Benson, who lives in Lens, a large town 100km from Calais, claimed he offered his large dinghy to 11 migrants who made the treacherous journey across the English Channel

Mr Benson said he ‘wished the group luck’ after he drove up to the French coast to give away the inflatable device to people trying to reach the UK

‘Ex Dover lad living in Lens, France here,’ wrote Mr Benson in a post about news reports of the migrants landing in Dover

‘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. I can always get them another dinghy.

‘If you have a problem with this I hope you never have to flee your home and terror, if you have a home that is, because you will not be welcome at my six bedroom house in Lens!’  

A man on a mobile phone was seen running off by witnesses yesterday after the 11 migrants were intercepted under the white cliffs near the town centre.

But 15 life jackets were counted at the spot where they came ashore suggesting others may have slipped away.

Police and Border Force officers rounded up another group of migrants (pictured) who made the treacherous journey across the Channel in a dinghy before landing on a beach next to the Port of Dover

Yesterday’s group included a woman (pictured). A group of 11 migrants were intercepted under the white cliffs near the town centre at the Kent port town

The group tried to cross the busy A20 leading to the port around 9.30am when police arrived and detained them. Pictured: A migrant speaking to an officer

The group – which included a distressed woman with what appeared to be a teenage son – tried to cross the busy A20 leading to the port around 9.30am when police arrived and detained them. Border Force then took over.

Just hours later, young children were pictured being carried ashore by officials after arriving on small boats. 

Concerns have been raised about the number of children making the dangerous crossing on the world’s busiest fishing lane, with the topic expected to form part of a forthcoming MP inquiry into the crisis. 

Favourable weather in the English Channel has made the crossing possible for hundreds of migrants over the last 10 days, despite Home Secretary Priti Patel’s vow to make the route ‘unviable’.

More than 900 migrants have arrived in Dover this month as calmer waters in the Channel present an opportunity for crossings in small boats. Pictured: Migrants arriving yesterday


At least 4,468 people have made the perilous crossing this year. Pictured: Migrants in Dover on Friday

Four men who made the perilous journey across the Channel were seen in Dover on Friday

It comes after a group of exhausted migrants landed on another Kent beach after crossing in a dinghy during a storm on Thursday.

Shocking pictures show some of the 10-strong group lying on the ground – one man holding the side of his body in pain – following a perilous journey over mthe Channel.

Some of the migrants, including one woman, were covered in mud after landing on the sandy beach at Greatstone, Romney Marsh.

Two of them were wrapped in foil blankets and were wearing face masks as they spoke to police and Border Force officers.

A woman wearing a face mask is seen sitting on the pavement after she crossed the Channel with a group on Friday

The group (pictured) tried to cross the busy A20 leading to the port around 9.30am when police arrived and detained them. Border Force then took over

Favourable weather in the English Channel has made the crossing possible for hundreds of migrants over the last 10 days. Pictured: A group in Dover on Friday


Home Secretary Priti Patel vowed to make the route across the Channel ‘unviable’ for those wishing to cross. Pictured: Migrants who made the journey on Friday

A weary group of migrants were seen in Dover on Friday after making the life-threatening journey across the Channel

A woman, man and a young boy were seen in Dover on Friday. Hundreds have risked their lives to reach the UK this month alone

Others held their head in their hands as they perched on a pavement.

The group were spotted around 9.30am and were taken away by a coach around 12pm.

Dozens more are believed to have been picked up off the coast of Dover.

Local photographer Susan Pilcher said on Thursday: ‘We had quite a storm over here last night.

‘I was out taking pictures of it until about 1.45am and there were some real lightning strikes – it really showed how much they’re willing to risk to get here by crossing in those conditions.

‘I have no idea how they didn’t die coming over in one of those dinghies. It’s heartbreaking.’

She added: ‘They landed on the beach, which has a really muddy area where people get stuck quite often. The migrants didn’t get stuck – but they must have got through it pretty quickly.’

The crossings come after 71 migrants were picked up in six boats off the Kent coast on Wednesday. 

The Home Office now refuses to provide information on how many children are making the journey.

But Kent County Council warned it is ‘days away’ from being unable to look after any more asylum seeking youngsters.  

The council’s leader Roger Gough fears more than 100 children could arrive without parents in August – a monthly figure not seen since 2015.  

It comes after some 420 unaccompanied children crossed the Channel without their parents this year, with around 70 arriving in August so far. 

A group of people thought to be migrants are brought into Dover following a number of small boat incidents in the Channelon Thursday

A group of people thought to be migrants disembark a Border Force vessel at Dover Port on Thursday

A group of people, including a child, were brought into Dover, Kent, by Border Force officers on Thursday

At least 20 migrants arrived on Kent’s beaches in Dover and Greatstone on Thursday

Children were among the refugees to arrive in Kent on Thursday as migrants crossed the sea

Migrants were seen being escorted off a Border Force patrol boat in Dover on Thursday, on the tenth day of arrivals across The Channel 

A toddler was seen crying in his father’s arms after being picked up by Border Force on Thursday

The family were on a boat that had crossed The Channel from France carrying refugees on Thursday

Councillor Gough previously said: ‘One (centre) which we actually emptied last week and which we reopened on Saturday, we are now almost full already. So this is the pace at which events are moving. 

‘The real question is what we can do to sustain that reception for those young people if the arrivals continue at the rate they do and we are unable to place those children with other local authorities.

‘I think we are now potentially days away, depending on the rate of arrivals, from turning around and having to say we cannot deliver all our statutory responsibilities and that is going to be a major step for the council.’

The unaccompanied children who arrive in Kent remain in the council’s care system ‘for quite a number of years,’ Mr Gough said. 

The numbers peaked on August 6 when 235 made it to the UK – a single-day record.

The Government has asked for military assistance to deal with crossings.

So far that has taken the form of RAF planes. At least three have been sent up into the skies above the Channel this week so far to carry out surveillance and help the coastguard and Border Force spot emerging crossing attempts.

Priti Patel told Tory MPs the asylum system is ‘broken’ as she promised to introduce laws that would ‘send the left into meltdown’, The Times reported on Thursday. 

After arriving in Kent on Thursday migrants were taken for coronavirus screening and then taken to a detention centre

The Home Secretary said the system was being ‘exploited by leftie Labour-supporting lawyers’ who were doing everything they could to stop the Government removing people.

Shadow secretary of state for justice David Lammy said the ‘leftie lawyers’ comments were ‘extremely distasteful’.

He added: ‘Caricaturing an entire profession, which is subject to a code of conduct and upholds the rule of law, is dangerous and unbecoming of a serious Home Secretary.’

Ms Patel’s newly appointed Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, Dan O’Mahoney, said: ‘These crossings are dangerous and unnecessary and I am determined to stop them.

‘The minister and I met with French officials in Paris on Tuesday for discussions on how to advance joint working on making the small boats route for illegal migration unviable.

‘We will continue to go after the heinous criminals and organised crime networks putting people’s lives at risk.’

The Mayor of Calais said Britain sending in the Navy to police the Channel would be ‘a declaration of maritime war’ amid a sharp rise in the number of migrants making the perilous crossing.

Mayor Natacha Bouchart responded to Ms Patel’s formal request for help from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) as the number of people making the life-threatening journey continues to climb.

The Calais Mayor said in an interview with France 3: ‘I think the [French] government would oppose it.

‘Here we are hostile to it. Rather than accept migrants who would work in the black market, Boris Johnson would do better than to teach us lessons, would be better to create better laws to to accept people in his own country.

‘The British themselves have created this hot air by not reviewing their own reception systems and are content to hand out lessons and by subjecting the people of Calais to this situation for too long.’

A military plane was sent out on Monday to survey the Channel and alert the Coastguard and Border Force to emerging crossing attempts. 

Migrants were escorted through the harbour, where they will go through Covid-19 screening on Thursday

The yard in Dover was completely packed with dozens of small boats used by groups to try and reach the UK on Thursday

Border Force have intercepted thousands of refugees making the illegal crossing from France so far this year

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