Hundreds of migrants boats intercepted in the English Channel are being stores at a warehouse complex in Dover as the latest figures show that more than 2,800 people have reached the UK this year.
Previously it was not clear what happened to the vessels, but MailOnline can now reveal they are being stored at a facility in Dover, Kent.
The boats are stacked three high and in multiple rows, they vary from fibreglass rowing boats to high tech large ribs used by unscrupulous gangs who exploit migrants’ desire to come to the UK.
This year so far 2,800 migrants have reached the UK, with 125 migrant boats in nine boats making it to the British waters on Friday and a record 180 arriving last Sunday. The recent increase in numbers is thought to be down to the clear calm conditions in the past few weeks.
It comes as Home Secretary Priti Patel has warned that illegal Chanel crossings ‘cannot go on,’ as she struck a deal with France to crack down on migrants arriving in the UK.
Speaking this last week, Ms Patel said: ‘I have been in France today seeing first-hand the significant work undertaken on that side of the Channel to address the unacceptably high levels of small boats, alongside the efforts of Border Force and the National Crime Agency in the UK.
The storage facility in Dover, Kent, shows hundreds of boats stacked up from after migrants have crossed the English Channel
A number of engines from the various vessels can be seen on wooden pallets near the facility in Kent
‘But despite all of the action taken by law enforcement to date – intercepting the boats, making arrests, returning people to France and putting the criminals responsible behind bars – the numbers continue to increase.
‘This simply cannot be allowed to go on.
‘Today, I have signed an agreement with the French to create a joint intelligence cell which will crack down on the gangs behind this vile people smuggling operation and impressed on my French counterpart the need to stop these illegal crossings for the benefit of both our countries.
‘This is the start of a new operational approach with the newly appointed French Interior Minister.’
A Home Office source said: ‘Priti is incredibly unhappy with the number of small boats making this journey and impressed on the French the need to stop these illegal crossings for the benefit of both countries.’
It comes after it was revealed a desperate migrant stole a pedalo from a French beach and tried to cross The Channel into England on a day when 180 people tried to make the journey.
On Sunday, July 12, Border Force officials, together with HM Coastguard and the RNLI, stopped 180 people in 15 vessels trying to make their way to the English coast.
The boats, stacked on top of each other at the facility in Kent. Thousands of migrants have attempted the crossing this year
Warm weather saw people smugglers take advantage of calm waters, on the same day Ms Patel travelled to Calais to discuss the illegal crossings with French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin.
A source told The Sun: ‘Many migrants see it as a “now or never” moment before the UK government cracks down on crossings.
‘They fear there will be a major push to curb the attempts and see July as their best opportunity.’
Two other migrants tried to make the crossing in a canoe, while the source told The Sun the pedalo thief ‘wouldn’t have stood a chance,’ if he had tried to cross during stormy weather.
Last month, 702 refugees reached the UK on small boats – after 741 landed in May.
There were migrant crossings on 16 days of last month – including eight days in a row from June 14.
June also saw a single-day record of 166 asylum seekers reach the UK in eight boats.
It comes despite Home Secretary Priti Patel repeatedly vowing to stamp out small boat crossings since she took up her post last year.
And the life-risking Channel crossings from France have continued even after the Government pumped millions of pounds into security measures to tackle them.
The most recent crossings follow reports that French authorities have dismantled a migrant camp near Calais, resulting in more than 500 people being moved on.
Clare Moseley, founder of humanitarian charity Care4Calais, last week said: ‘These continual evictions increase health risks – destroying possessions removes people’s ability to keep warm and dry, sleep properly or cook for themselves.
‘The effect on their mental health is equally stark, causing depression, self-harm and suicide.
‘Evictions are pointless and simply don’t work. This approach has been followed for 10 years with no perceivable impact.
‘It was claimed that the demolition of the large Calais jungle in October 2016 would stop people coming to Calais to cross the Channel, but it did not.’
Instead, Ms Moseley said the eviction was a ‘direct response’ to UK Home Secretary Priti Patel’s calls for action following recent Channel crossings.