Dramatic photographs showed migrants staggering onto a British beach today after a potentially record-breaking number were picked up off the coast with up to 25 boats crossing the English Channel.
Pictures taken this morning showed one group wading through the water and looking exhausted as they collapsed and sat down on rocks on the Kent coast at Dover after making the perilous journey from France.
The arrivals today mean the crossings could eclipse last month’s single-day record of 235 migrants who arrived in 17 vessels, although it is not yet known how many were among the groups this morning.
One group of migrants was seen walking up a hill after landing at St Margaret’s at Cliffe near Dover today, while another group were spotted at the foot of the White Cliffs of Dover.
Four dinghies evaded Border Force to land at The Warren beach near Folkestone, while the Dover lifeboat brought 25 refugees into the port this morning – and it was carrying around 13 to shore around 10am.
Steve Finn, who took the pictures this morning, told MailOnline that he was at the beach with a group of other photographs when the migrants arrived and managed to convince them to avoid escaping.
A group of migrants wade through the water onto a beach at Dover in Kent this morning after crossing the English Channel
The migrants look exhausted as they walk onto the beach at Dover in Kent this morning following the crossing
The group of migrants arrived at the coast in Dover on two boats this morning following their crossing over the Channel
A migrant sits on the rocks at the beach in Dover today (left), while another is collapsed on the steps this morning (right)
Migrants walk onto the shore at the beach in Dover this morning after making the journey across the English Channel
Migrants get some rest on the beach at Dover this morning after making the perilous journey across the Channel
A boat carrying one set of the migrants is pulled into shore at Dover this morning following the crossing
The group of migrants walk onto the beach at Dover this morning after travelling across the English Channel
Two migrants, one wearing a face mask, walk up the beach at Dover in Kent this morning following their arrival
Border Force officers wearing face masks stand near the group on the beach at Dover following their arrival this morning
He said: ‘We were there before the police. The lifeboat couldn’t get in – it was too shallow. So if we weren’t there, they were have run off and escaped. The Border Force arrived within 20 minutes – it’s next to the dock.
‘Some did try and make an escape but we managed to round them up and persuade them not to, because there’s railway lines and roads nearby – so if you don’t know the area you get killed instantly.’
Speaking about the blonde lady wearing trainers, Mr Finn said: ‘She was absolutely exhausted, she fell on the floor after getting there. She was given a bottle of Diet Coke and she perked up, but she was shivering to the bone.’
Referring to another woman who was lying on the steps, Mr Finn added that she ‘collapsed complaining of pains in her stomach, and they were trying to establish what it was’ with an English-speaking member of the group.
A woman sits on the rocks at the beach in Dover this morning after making the journey across the English Channel
The migrants sit on rocks at the beach in Dover this morning after making it across the Channel to Britain today
The group of migrants walk up the beach today after a potentially record-breaking number were picked up off the coast
One of the migrants falls into the water after stepping off the boat following the arrival on the Kent coast this morning
The migrants look exhausted as they make their way onto the beach at Dover following their crossing over the Channel
The two boats carrying the migrants arrive on the Kent coast this morning after they travelled across the Channel
Coastguard workers pictured today as bosses said they were ‘committed to safeguarding life around seas and coastal areas’
A woman gets some rest on the beach at Dover this morning after making the perilous journey across the Channel
One of the boats carrying the migrants is pulled into shore during their arrival off the Kent coast this morning
Coastguar workers and Border Force officers wearing face masks work together on the beach at Dover this morning
A woman wrings out water from her clothing after arriving on the beach at Dover following the crossing this morning
A group of migrants arrive on a boat at Dover following their crossing over the English Channel today
He said Coastugards, medics and Border Force officials were all at the scene following the arrival of the migrants on the two boats and ‘have been run off their feet, big time’.
Speaking about the migrants, he said: ‘They were all focused, they all got off the craft and you can see them falling over, because obviously it’s low tide, and it’s a bit of a further walk. They were just about to disperse.’
He also took a separate series of photographs of a family who landed at St Margaret’s at Cliffe, saying they were caught at the top of the hill after climbing up from the beach and taken in by the Coastguard.
The rescue operation was going on since at least 6am. The Channel was calm and there were clear skies – making it easier to make the perilous journey across the world’s busiest shipping lane, the Dover Strait.
The group of migrants are led up the steps at the beach in Dover this morning by mask-wearing Border Force officers
The migrants walk up the steps at the beach in Dover this morning following their crossing over the English Channel
The migrants arrive at the beach in Dover this morning after making the perilous journey across the Channel today
A woman sits on the sand and shingle at the beach in Dover today after making the journey across the English Channel
A man sits in the sunshine on the rocks off the Kent coast this morning after completing the journey across the Channel
Two boats carrying the migrants are pulled as close as possible to the shore at Dover today before they get off
Border Force officers speak with each other as they stand next to the group of migrants who arrived at Dover today
Two powerboats are pictured on the Kent coast at Dover this morning following the arrival of the migrants
A man and woman help each other along the beach at Dover this morning following their journey across the Channel
A pair of jeans are left to dry out on the beach at Dover this morning following the arrival of the group of migrants
One of the migrants falls into the water while wading up to the Kent coast following the crossing this morning
The Coastguard said it had been ‘assisting Border Force with incidents off Dover’ today, with a spokesman adding: ‘HM Coastguard is committed to safeguarding life around the seas and coastal areas of this country.
‘We are only concerned with preservation of life, rescuing those in trouble and bringing them safely back to shore, where they will be handed over to the relevant partner emergency services or authorities.’
Meanwhile, French authorities picked up 13 migrants in three separate incidents yesterday, which included two people on a kayak who were spotted in difficulty by a ferry two miles east of Calais.
A record number of migrants reached Britain by illegally crossing the Channel last month. More than 1,450 arrived by small boats in August, bringing the total since the start of the year to more than 5,000.
A group of migrants are pictured after being picked up by a lifeboat and brought ashore at Dover Harbour this morning
A migrant raises his hands following his arrival at Dover this morning after being picked up by a lifeboat
Migrants are brought to shore after arriving at Dover today as huge numbers of them continue to arrive in Kent
The scene in Dover today where adults and young children were seen arriving after having crossed part of the Channel
A baby is carried off a boat by a woman following the arrival of the migrants off the coast of Dover this morning
The scene in Dover today after adults and young children were seen arriving having crossed part of the English Channel
A man wearing a face mask carries a young child following the arrival of a group of migrants at Dover this morning
Border Force officers patrol the area off the coast of Dover this morning as groups of migrants arrive in Britain
A man holds the hand of one child while carrying another as he arrives at Dover after crossing the Channel this morning
A woman is helped to shore after arriving at Dover this morning after groups of migrants crossed the Channel
A man walks with two children while a woman carries a young child after arriving at Dover this morning
A group of migrants are brought into Dover by Border Force officers today after crossing the English Channel
A group of migrants are brought into Dover on the Dungeness Lifeboat after travelling over the English Channel
A group of migrants are brought into Dover this morning by Border Force officers after their crossing
Border Force officials bring a group of migrants into Dover today following their arrival this morning
Migrants sit on the Dungeness Lifeboat as they are brought into Dover after crossing the English Channel
Just 1,850 migrants made the journey in 2019. The massive rise comes despite a vow from Home Secretary Priti Patel last autumn to have made the crossings an ‘infrequent phenomenon’ by this point.
The Home Office has sought to blame French authorities and ‘activist lawyers’ for the increase and for difficulties removing asylum seekers once they arrive in Britain.
About 100 migrants were seen arriving in the port of Dover yesterday, with at least 15 small boats reaching British shores. The daily total included women and children, as well as three men on an inflatable kayak.
One woman in her 20s was seen being brought ashore by Border Force officers in a wheelchair. Others were brought into Dover aboard the UK Border Force patrol boat Hunter.
They were seen being ushered out of the cabin on to the stern of the vessel where they were given life jackets. Immigration officials then helped them ashore one by one and escorted them up the gangway.
A dinghy believed to have been used to cross the Channel was seen being towed into the harbour shortly afterwards. Later, more arrivals were seen coming into the port, sitting on the front of an RNLI lifeboat.
About a dozen in life jackets were helped ashore and met by border officials. The previous monthly record for migrant arrivals was 1,075, in July. August’s arrivals saw 235 reach Britain on just one day, which was also a record.
Miss Patel is seeking a deal with French authorities that would allow migrant boats to be turned back in the Channel. Yesterday, the Mail revealed the taxpayer was hit with a £1billion bill for the asylum system last year.