People smugglers are offering migrants ‘kids go free deals’ while dropping their prices for small-boat Channel crossings.
Desperate parents are being told they don’t have to pay to carry babies and toddlers as the ruthless smugglers lure them into completing the perilous crossings.
In some cases, the gangs have even dropped their prices from £5,000 to £500 in an attempt to encourage more families to cross to Britain from Calais.
It comes as more migrants arrived in Dover this morning, with Sky News reporting that at least four boats were spotted, numbering more than 30 people in total.
At least 13 Sudanese migrants are thought to have been in one boat, though this hasn’t yet been confirmed.
The total number of migrants to make the crossing from France to Britain this year has passed the 4,000 mark.
Home Office figures suggest some 677 people, including at least one toddler, were caught making the perilous trip between Thursday and Sunday.
Migrants arrive in Dover this morning, the latest group to make the perilous crossing from Calais to the UK
It is unclear how many arrived in Dover this morning, following days of UK government anger at the numbers crossings
Migrants give a thumbs up as they arrive in Dover this morning amid reports of another four boats making the crossing
Migrants, including women, are brought into Dover harbour by the Border Patrol this morning
News of the cut price deals is sure to raise alarms as the British government pledges to tackle the crossings.
A law enforcement official commented on the ‘special offers’, adding that the smugglers will do anything to ‘make their profit from misery’.
British officials have also been briefed on intelligence showing how the gangs are cutting their prices.
A charity worker in northern France told The Sun: ‘We’ve spoken to people intercepted en route to the UK who have told us how babies and infants are getting into dinghies for free. Younger children and teenagers are being allowed on for just a few hundred pounds a time.’
A source added: ‘The prices these gangmasters charge has dropped a hell of a lot recently.
‘They are also tempting people by saying if you get stopped you can try again and again until you do cross.’
The latest revelations also highlight the horrifying lengths migrants are going to in an attempt to avoid deportation.
A source said that some are arriving with burnt or shaved off fingerprints, while carrying no ID, which make it impossible to determine who they are or where they come from.
It comes amid a crackdown on the migrant crossings from the British government.
A group of migrants crossing the Channel in a small boat headed in the direction of Dover yesterday
A tiny baby was spotted arriving in Dover with its family last week after crossing the Channel in a dinghy – carried in what appears to be a gym bag
A Border Force official brings a child to land after vessels crossed from Calais to the UK yesterday
Priti Patel will today demand French co-operation in a massive new ‘blockade’ of the Channel to crack down on the migrant crisis.
The Home Secretary will refuse to hand over any more taxpayers’ money to fund operations on French soil unless Emmanuel Macron’s government steps up action on illegal crossings.
The French will also be expected to accept deportations of larger numbers of migrants who cross illegally, as well as failed asylum seekers, as part of a potential £30million deal.
Boris Johnson branded the Channel crossings a ‘very bad and stupid and dangerous and criminal thing to do’ as he hinted at changing laws to tackle the deepening crisis.
The PM said the UK needed to ‘look at the legal framework’ for migrants who have arrived in the UK illegally, adding it was ‘very, very difficult to then send them away again.’
In proposals being outlined at a summit in Paris with Home Office minister Chris Philp this morning, it is understood the UK will set out how it hopes migrant boats can be barred from crossing the strait.
Home Secretary Priti Patel headed to Dover yesterday, and was seen disembarking from a police boat that had been out in the Channel earlier that morning
Royal Navy vessels and Border Force patrol boats will be used to block their path, even deploying nets to entangle propellers and floating ‘booms’, it is understood.
French patrol boats, which currently ‘escort’ migrant boats across the Channel, will be expected to take part in the operation to return the small ships to French beaches, officials said.
In a further demand, more migrants who reach British shores should be sent straight back to France.
However, it is understood the proposed deal will not set a target for the number of deportations.
The UK will also urge the French to fingerprint migrants in the Calais camps.
Migrants’ ‘biometrics’ will then be uploaded to an existing EU database, known as EURODAC, so that anyone who later claims asylum in the UK can be returned under EU rules.
In the last five years the UK has given France £114million to fund operations against illegal migrants and people traffickers. But numbers are spiralling, with more than 4,300 arriving so far this year compared to 1,850 in all of 2019.
Yesterday British military assets were deployed for the first time to tackle the flow of small boats, with an RAF aircraft carrying out a surveillance flight. Miss Patel also boarded a police launch from Dover to witness operations.
‘The number of illegal small boat crossings we have seen recently is totally unacceptable,’ she said.
‘Our operational partners are dealing with complex challenges associated with them and collectively with the French we need to make this route unviable.
‘Across Government we are absolutely committed to shutting down this route and we will bring down the criminal gangs that facilitate these illegal crossings.’