Crying toddler among latest arrivals after 2021 sets new Channel crossings record

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 (PA)
(PA)

A toddler cried as they were brought ashore in Dover on Wednesday, part of a group of people believed to have just made the perilous journey across the English Channel

The young child was carried up a gangway towards a white processing tent on the quayside, above where two dozen dinghies from previous crossings floated below.

At least five children were seen arriving aboard Border Force patrol boats, accompanied men and women.

The latest migrant arrivals come after the number of people who have made the dangerous journey in small boats this year passed the total for all of 2020 on Tuesday, according to available official data compiled by the PA news agency.

A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, onboard a border force boat following a small boat incident in the Channel (Gareth Fuller/PA) (PA Wire)
A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, onboard a border force boat following a small boat incident in the Channel (Gareth Fuller/PA) (PA Wire)

More than 700 people succeeded in crossing the Channel on Monday and Tuesday, with many landing on Dungeness beach in Kent.

Border Force vessels and French warships are again active in the Dover Strait on Wednesday, with dozens of people already brought into the port.

On Tuesday, Home Secretary Priti Patel announced an agreement to more than double the number of police patrolling French beaches, with the Government to give France £54 million.

Facing questions at the Home Affairs Select Committee on Wednesday, Ms Patel defended the money pledge, saying the numbers of people attempting to cross from France had increased “considerably”.

 (PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

However, an MP from her own party accused her of allowing the French to make “a mockery” of arrangements to return migrants to French territory after a French naval vessel reportedly tried to hand a number of migrants to a boat carrying journalists on Tuesday.

At least 8,452 people had crossed to the UK as of Tuesday evening, eclipsing the figure for the whole of 2020, when 8,417 people made the trip.

These figures are based on Home Office data obtained and analysed by PA.

Bella Sankey, director of charity Detention Action, condemned the Government’s handling of the issue, saying it “loses all credibility” with the new record.

Dan O’Mahoney, clandestine channel threat commander for the Home Office, said on Tuesday that the Government “continues to take steps to tackle the unacceptable problem”.

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