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At least 227 migrants arrive in the UK after crossing English Channel during first two days of bank holiday weekend including 50 packed on board one inflatable boat

At least 227 migrants arrive in the UK after crossing English Channel during first two days of bank holiday weekend including 50 packed on board one inflatable boat
  • People wearing face masks were processed by Border Force officials today
  • The Home Office confirmed 145 migrants were also brought to Dover yesterday 
  • A charity says it's 'little wonder' so many are risking their lives to make crossings
  • Home Secretary threatened to turn people away and send them back to France 
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 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
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 
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.
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.
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.
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.'  
Earlier this week, Home Secretary Priti Patel acknowledged that a recent increase in the number of migrant boats making the dangerous crossing of the English Channel is linked to the Covid-19 lockdown.
Mrs Patel has put forward a new plan which would see more boats turned back to France. 
Currently migrants are escorted to British ports if they reach our maritime territory, but officials believe it would undermine people-trafficking gangs if the boats are returned to the other side of the Channel. 
The Home Secretary's plan would also see the British taxpayer funding more patrols on the French coast.
Tory MP for Dover and Deal Natalie Elphicke yesterday tweeted: 'Today's brazen illegal crossings as we celebrate #VEDay75 is another reminder why firm action is needed to stop the ruthless smuggling gangs & return boats to France.
'Since December I have been calling on the Home Secretary to ensure small boats are returned to France and that we put an end to these illegal small boat crossings organised by criminal gangs.
'The Home Secretary has listened and taken action.
'This week she agreed fresh steps with France with more stringent patrols and work towards returns.
'Together with action to tackle the criminal gangs. I strongly welcome this action and her commitment to end small boats crossings.
'Only when migrants and traffickers alike know that they will not succeed in breaking into Britain in this way will these dangerous journeys cease.'

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