More than 1,000 migrants cross channel to Britain in two days

Container ships out at sea in the English Channel on 26th September 2021 between France and the United Kingdom, Mike Kemp/Getty Images

Britain has rescued or intercepted a total of 1,115 migrants attempting to cross the English Channel over just two days, the country’s interior ministry said.

Rising numbers of Channel crossings by migrants in small boats have contributed to growing tensions between the U.K. and France following Britain’s departure from the EU at the start of this year.

On Saturday, British authorities said they had recovered 491 people in 17 operations and 624 people in 23 operations on Friday, while French authorities prevented 414 migrants from reaching Britain over the same two days.

On Sunday the French authorities said they had rescued a further 342 migrants who were attempting the crossing.

Dan O’Mahoney, who heads the Home Office team looking to curb the number of migrants reaching the U.K., said the government was “determined” to tackle what he called the “unacceptable rise in dangerous Channel crossings”.

“Working with police and international partners, there have been nearly 300 arrests, 65 convictions related to small boat criminality and our targeted efforts have prevented more than 13,500 migrant attempts so far this year,” O’Mahoney said.

According to a count by Britain’s domestic news agency PA, more than 17,000 migrants have made the crossing to Britain in small boats since the beginning of the year, more than double the figure for the whole of 2020.