Author: JOE DUGGAN
THE number of illegal migrants found trying to sneak into the UK has quadrupled in four years, an investigation has fond. In 2013, 204 migrants were found at UK ports attempting to reach Britain, with the figure rocketing to 835 in 2017, said the BBC.
It is believed migrants and people-smuggling gangs are targeting smaller points of departure and arrival as they try to reach England after the closure of the so-called Calais Jungle migrant camp in 2016. Border officials’ figures show there were more than 56,000 attempts to reach Kent from France in 2016, said the TV probe.
Video footage shows groups of migrants at smaller French ports sprinting towards moving UK-bound lorries and scrambling on board.
Hundreds of men wait in the small French port of Ouistreham, south of Le Havre, hoping to smuggle themselves to Portsmouth.
One Sudanese migrant named Tyga said he tries “every night”.
Dover and Deal MP Charlie Elphicke said: “The focus has been very much on larger ports like Dover and Calais. But there does need to be a new focus on smaller ports like Portsmouth and Newhaven.
“It’s really important we invest in more border officers at these ports and at small airstrips to ensure that our borders are as safe and secure as they can be.”
Following the destruction of the Calais Jungle, which housed about 7,000 migrants, gangs of people-smugglers have been cashing in as desperate migrants attempt to enter the UK illegally.
Many are now trying their luck from smaller ports in France, aiming for the smaller landing places in England, it is believed.
Clare Moseley, founder of Care4Calais said: “We are not dealing with this situation very well. It is the biggest crisis of our generation.
“If we had ways for people to be assessed, if we had ways for people to get to where they had a legal right to be reunited with their family, then normal citizens wouldn’t have to deal with this. The lorry drivers wouldn’t have to deal with it.”
Earlier this month, a people-smuggling gang was convicted at the Old Bailey after plotting to bring illegal migrants across the Channel on three-person jet-skis at £6,000 a head.
In July 2016 two members of the same gang were jailed after collecting 18 Albanians from Calais to take to the beach at the village of Dymchurch, Kent, in an overcrowded rigid-hulled inflatable boat.
When the vessel ran out of fuel, the two hapless “crew” and the desperate migrants were forced to bail out before being rescued off the Kent coast.
In June, a Romanian people smuggler was jailed at Canterbury Crown Court after being found with a Vietnamese boy hidden in a suitcase in his car boot.
He was stopped during checks at Dover.