A camp of migrants in Calais has been cleared by French police for the second time in two days, amid a wave of Channel crossings and claims that smugglers are urging refugees to get to Britain before Brexit.
Migrants were evicted from a squalid wasteland site on the outskirts of Calais on Thursday morning with police patrolling the area.
A large group of migrants gathered in the middle of the road while some walked off with their possessions in bin bags in search of somewhere else to live.
The site, dotted with tents where 200 people had been living, was first cleared on Wednesday but people began to return within hours. It is now expected to be fenced off to stop refugees returning.
Charities say the migrants have a ‘now or never’ feeling and a French MP has claimed they are being lied to by smugglers and told they cannot cross after October 31.
A large migrant camp in a Dunkirk gym, in which several families with young children are living, is expected to be evicted in the coming days
The thousand-strong encampment in Dunkirk is set to be evicted – with camps in Calais having already been emptied
A migrant carrying his possessions in a bin bag is escorted away by French police today as authorities cleared out a Calais migrant camp for the second time in two days
Migrants sit around tents in a makeshift woodland camp on the outskirts of Calais, where authorities have been clearing them out amid a wave of crossings
The site (pictured) on the fringes of Calais was first cleared on Wednesday but people began to return within hours
At the same time, another group of police raided the former site of the Calais Jungle – which is further along the same road as the latest camp – and moved migrants on.
A larger camp in a Dunkirk gym, in which several families with young children are living, is expected to be evicted in the coming days.
It comes amid claims made by French politicians that smugglers are telling migrants they will not be able to cross the Channel after Brexit.
A possible No Deal Brexit on October 31 is already predicted to cause chaos at Channel ports, but Calais MP Pierre-Henri Dumont said smugglers were lying and claiming the crossing will close completely.
Mr Dumont blamed ‘fake news’ about the UK’s departure from the EU and said ‘security measures’ alone would not stop the rise in crossings.
One charity, Care4Calais, believes that allowing migrants to claim asylum for the UK from France would stop the surge in perilous Channel crossings.
The charity has called for UK officials to set up a kiosk on the continent to process asylum applications so that migrants do not try and cross by themselves instead.
A migrant camp outside a gym in Dunkirk where up to 1,000 people are living, amid a spike in attempts to cross the Channel and reach Britain
Boxes of food donated to the charity Care4Calais, which is handing them out to migrants in France where police have been clearing out their camps
Osiama Mike (left) said he fled Nigeria after his father was killed by the authorities, while Mied Jalloh (right) is originally from Sierra Leone
After police cleared out the camp some of the migrants walked off with their possessions in bin bags in search of somewhere else to live
Osiama Mike, 27, has been there nearly two months and said he fled Nigeria after his father was killed by the authorities.
He said: ‘This place is terrible. I’m trying my best to go to the UK. I’ve tried four times to get on a truck but they catch me and take me back.
‘The UK taught me how to speak English. I want to learn more. I don’t speak French. ‘I want to study and be a lawyer.
‘If I could speak to the UK Government, I would say, ‘Give me a chance. Please don’t allow me to stay here’.’
Gambian Zahar Ndure, 27, said he fled persecution and has lived in the camp for eight months and helps introduce charity workers to refugees when they visit.
He said he hopes to live and work in the UK, adding: ‘The problem is the people have no choice. When they see a boat, they will go.’
Some 21 migrants – including three children – were picked up by UK authorities on Wednesday morning with one being taken to hospital after becoming unwell, the Home Office said.
On Tuesday 86 men, women and children crossed – thought to be the most intercepted by UK authorities alone on a single day so far.
Border Force cutters are continuing to patrol the Channel while drones, CCTV and night vision goggles are used.
The camp – a sandy grassland on the edge of Calais leading to a wood and a rubble wasteland dotted with tents where around 200 people had been living – is now expected to be fenced off to stop refugees returning
Charities say the migrants have a ‘now or never’ feeling and a French MP has claimed they are being lied to by smugglers and told they cannot cross after October 31
Migrants were evicted from a squalid wasteland site on the outskirts of Calais on Thursday morning with police patrolling the area
Care4Calais founder Clare Moseley said: ‘The only reason they are coming to Calais is to get to the UK. They wouldn’t come here otherwise.
‘They have this “now or never” feeling. They are becoming desperate.’
She added: ‘They should be able to claim asylum (for the UK) while they are in France.
‘Providing a safe legal route is the only way. Increasing security is a bigger risk. More security means more people get hurt and more people die.
‘Many have family ties in the UK or can speak some English as opposed to French.’
Last month, Home Secretary Priti Patel said urgent action was needed to put a stop to the wave of crossings, after she met French interior minister Christophe Castaner in Paris.
More detail on the action plan is yet to be released.
The Home Office declared the matter a major incident under former home secretary Sajid Javid and pledged millions of pounds to tackle the crisis.
A plan drawn up in January included a £6million investment in security equipment, CCTV coverage of beaches and ports and a mutual commitment to return migrants under international and domestic laws, the department said.
But the number of migrants taken in by UK authorities so far this year is thought to have already passed 1,000.