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Secret staging area used by people smugglers to prepare migrants to cross English Channel

A secret staging area used by people smugglers to assemble groups of migrants and prepare inflatable boats to carry them across the English Channel has been uncovered by MailOnline. 

The site where migrants appear to have spent their last night in France is hidden in sand dunes under the noses of patrolling French police near Wimereux, around 20 miles south of Calais. 

Piles of abandoned lifejackets, clothing, sleeping bags and left over food from final meals eaten on French soil were spread out on the area of sand around 100 yards from the beach. 

Foot pumps for inflatable boats were also found at the scene along with flooring panels which are designed to slot together and add stability to the flimsy vessels carrying migrants to the UK. 

The spot is in a sheltered hollow and cannot be seen from the beach which was being patrolled by a dozen French police in the early morning darkness and as the sun came up this morning. 

People smugglers are able to keep watch from the vantage point and can decide when the moment is right for migrants to help manhandle their boats down a sandy cliff and begin their perilous voyage. 

The site is also in the area where MailOnline witnessed two giant 50ft long inflatable boats – each packed with around 40 migrants – being pushed out into the surf by people smugglers on Tuesday morning. 

Pictured: A secret staging area used by people smugglers to assemble groups of migrants and prepare inflatable boats to carry them across the English Channel. It has been uncovered by MailOnline

Ripped up sacks were found littered around the site after apparently being used as ground sheets to rest on, along with blankets and up to a dozen sleeping bags including some still in their carrying bags. 

One of the most pitiful sights was a girl’s jacket and a child’s cuddly toy grey owl, apparently abandoned or lost.

Evidence of food and drink consumed included packets of praline waffles, crisps, Oreo biscuits, miniature muffins, tins of mackerel and tuna, alongside empty cans of energy drinks and oat milk cartons. 

There was also an empty box of condoms, possibly used by migrants to make waterproof covers for precious mobile phones or to inflate to provide extra buoyancy for bags before they go to sea. 

Two rolls of clingfilm abandoned at the scene could also have been used to wrap up and waterproof possessions.

Lifejackets lying around included a bright orange one for a child with a label saying it had been manufactured in Izmir, Turkey, suggesting that it had earlier been purchased for an illicit boat trip from Turkey to Europe. 

French police officers were seen examining the item of nautical debris and giving it a cursory kick (pictured) as they walked past it at the high water mark on Thursday

French police officers were seen examining the item of nautical debris and giving it a cursory kick (pictured) as they walked past it at the high water mark on Thursday

Pictured: migrants belongings Staging area that was used to prepare migrants and boats before a boat was lunched on Tuesday at Dunes De La Slack near Wimereux, November 18, 2021

Pictured: migrants belongings Staging area that was used to prepare migrants and boats before a boat was lunched on Tuesday at Dunes De La Slack near Wimereux, November 18, 2021

An empty plastic container of 10W-40 motor oil for an outboard engine was discarded at the spot along with a hand operated Itiwit pump for putting air into inflatable chambers on a boat. 

There were also four 4ft wide panels, with metal edging designed to slot together, to provide strengthened flooring for a boat. 

No migrant boats were seen setting off from beaches in the area this morning after French police stepped up patrols following MailOnline’s images of the giant craft full of migrants being launched on Tuesday. 

Officers with torches and carrying a gun to fire runner bullets were seen probing the sand dunes in the darkness this morning, and walking up and down the beach as Coastguards with searchlights kept watch from a boat offshore. 

A MailOnline reporter also found the deflated remains of a large black inflatable boat on the beach after it was washed up at high tide. 

French police officers were seen examining the item of nautical debris and giving it a cursory kick as they walked past it at the high water mark.

It is not known if the boat was abandoned at sea after migrants were picked up by French authorities, or if it came to grief in a failed launching attempt on the beach.

Piles of abandoned lifejackets, clothing, sleeping bags and left over food from final meals eaten on French soil were spread out on the area of sand around 100 yards from the beach (pictured on Thursday)

Piles of abandoned lifejackets, clothing, sleeping bags and left over food from final meals eaten on French soil were spread out on the area of sand around 100 yards from the beach (pictured on Thursday)

Pictured: A life jacket is seen in the staging area on Thursday. The spot is in a sheltered hollow and cannot be seen from the beach which was being patrolled by a dozen French police in the early morning darkness and as the sun came up this morning

Pictured: A life jacket is seen in the staging area on Thursday. The spot is in a sheltered hollow and cannot be seen from the beach which was being patrolled by a dozen French police in the early morning darkness and as the sun came up this morning

MailOnlne found a similar deflated giant inflatable with large gashes in its buoyancy chambers washed up on rocks at the same beach earlier this week. 

The migrants who set sail on Tuesday morning are thought to have spent Monday night hiding in sand dunes overlooking the two beaches where they left from.

They were seen manhandling the inflatables down clifftops as early morning French dog walkers and a jogger watched in amazement. 

People smuggling minders were spotted wading knee deep in the sea and then running back to shore after the migrants clambered aboard. 

There where cheers and whoops from one boat as they started their Yamaha outboard engine and headed out into the surf, intent on a new life in the UK. 

Most of the two groups were seen wearing bright orange life jackets although a few did not have any buoyancy aids. 

The incredible scenes unfolded without a single police officer being seen anywhere in the area, despite the French authorities having pledged to crack down on migrant boats. 

Officers were back patrolling beaches in the area on Wednesday, albeit 24 hours too late to prevent the flotilla setting off a day earlier. 

MailOnline earlier witnessed lifejackets being openly handed out on Monday afternoon at the makshift migrant camp in Grand Synthe near Dunkirk which was closed down by hundreds of French police on Tuesday morning. 

Ripped up sacks were found littered around the site after apparently being used as ground sheets to rest on, along with blankets and up to a dozen sleeping bags including some still in their carrying bags (pictured)

Ripped up sacks were found littered around the site after apparently being used as ground sheets to rest on, along with blankets and up to a dozen sleeping bags including some still in their carrying bags (pictured)

Foot pumps for inflatable boats were also found at the scene along with flooring panels which are designed to slot together and add stability to the flimsy vessels carrying migrants to the UK. Pictured: An opened foot-pump box seen on Thursday

Foot pumps for inflatable boats were also found at the scene along with flooring panels which are designed to slot together and add stability to the flimsy vessels carrying migrants to the UK. Pictured: An opened foot-pump box seen on Thursday

Groups of men were seen arriving with bags crammed full of the brand new bright orange lifejackets as charities gave out free food and medication on Monday afternoon. 

Later several groups of migrants were seen waiting at a nearby bus stop opposite an Auchan superstore, carrying their lifejackets in bags. 

Scores of migrants were seen arriving on Monday evening in Wimereux around 40 miles south of Grand Synthe, and walking through the town centre towards the beach. 

Some had huge backpacks stuffed with their meagre possessions, and apparently hiding their lifejackets. 

The excited chatter of a migrant group was heard on the beach in the darkness as one boat set off before dawn. 

The two big boats later launched in daylight after lookouts decided that the coast was clear and no police were around.

Bon voyage! French cops stand and watch as cheering migrants launch another dinghy into the channel – on the day 1,000 more migrants made it to the UK

Migrants have been filmed cheering and clapping as they launched dinghies off the coast of France to cross the English Channel as French police officers stood by and filmed the scenes.

Video footage taken on Tuesday – the same day that a staggering 1,000 migrants made it to the UK – showed groups of migrants, including young children, clapping in celebration as they managed to restart their boat’s engine on a Calais beach.

In the clip, taken by local jogger Franck Viandier, dozens of migrants crowded around the small boat and helped to push it into the water while children clapped and cheered with excitement as they prepared to cross the Channel.

Other footage obtained by ITV News showed dozens of migrants wearing life jackets carrying a small dinghy down to the sea while French Gendarmerie officers stood by on the shore and watched.

Some officers appeared to be holding up their phones and filming the scenes, while others stood by and did not intervene as the migrants prepared to launch a boat, heading for the UK. 

On Tuesday, MailOnline journalists witnessed two 50ft long boats, setting off from the beaches near Wimereux, around 20 mile south of Calais. No police were on the beach at the time – but turned up some 24 hours later.  

Today, the RNLI rescued 23 migrants before around 50 more arrived in Kent. More people are expected to make the dangerous 21-mile trip across the Dover Strait throughout the day as weather is said to be good in the Channel.

A lifeboat was scrambled this morning to rescue people from a boat in the Channel, with one migrant airlifted to hospital after suffering a suspected medical episode while attempting the crossing. The man, who was taken to the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, is believed to be okay. 

Video footage taken this Tuesday - the same day that a staggering 1,000 migrants made it to the UK - showed groups of migrants, including young children, clapped in celebration as they managed to restart their boat's engine on a Calais beach

Video footage taken this Tuesday – the same day that a staggering 1,000 migrants made it to the UK – showed groups of migrants, including young children, clapped in celebration as they managed to restart their boat’s engine on a Calais beach

One video showed dozens of migrants wearing life jackets carrying a small dinghy down to the sea while French Gendarmerie officers stood by on the shore and watched, while some appeared to be filming on their phones

One video showed dozens of migrants wearing life jackets carrying a small dinghy down to the sea while French Gendarmerie officers stood by on the shore and watched, while some appeared to be filming on their phones

Migrants launch their boats from France along a 100mile stretch of beach, making it harder for authorities to stop them from crossing the Channel. Pictured: Dozens of migrants are seen crowding around a dinghy on a Calais beach on Tuesday

Migrants launch their boats from France along a 100mile stretch of beach, making it harder for authorities to stop them from crossing the Channel. Pictured: Dozens of migrants are seen crowding around a dinghy on a Calais beach on Tuesday

Mr Viandier, who jogs along a Calais beach every morning, said he believes the Gendarmerie officers are doing their best amid the migrant crisis, saying that it is not ‘their job’ to fight migrants if they want to cross to England.

He told ITV News: ‘Sometimes there is a lot of police, I can see the fight sometimes. But they say to me ‘it is not our job to fight with these people, the people want to go to England, we are French police’.’

France claims that it deploys 950 officers in the Calais region each day in a bid to prevent illegal Channel crossings. 

Migrants launch their boats from France along a 100mile stretch of beach, making it harder for authorities to stop them from crossing the Channel. Out of 40,000 crossings this year, only around half were stopped, according to official figures.

Meanwhile, Clandestine Channel Threat Commander Dan O’Mahoney said the UK’s offer to set up joint patrols with the French was rebuffed.

He added: ‘We constantly discuss operational options with the French, we have offered to conduct joint patrols. It’s not an offer that the French have currently taken us up on, but it continues to be on the table.’ 

In one clip, taken by local jogger Franck Viandier, dozens of migrants crowded around a small boat and helped to push it into the water while children clapped and cheered in excitement as they prepared to cross the Channel

In one clip, taken by local jogger Franck Viandier, dozens of migrants crowded around a small boat and helped to push it into the water while children clapped and cheered in excitement as they prepared to cross the Channel

Gendarmerie officers were seen holding up their phones and filming the migrants leaving the beach, while others stood by and did not intervene as the migrants prepared to launch a boat, heading for the UK

Gendarmerie officers were seen holding up their phones and filming the migrants leaving the beach, while others stood by and did not intervene as the migrants prepared to launch a boat, heading for the UK

French police officers pass a deflated dinghy on the beach in Wimereux near Calais as migrants continue to launch small boats along the coastline in a bid to cross the Channel towards the UK

French police officers pass a deflated dinghy on the beach in Wimereux near Calais as migrants continue to launch small boats along the coastline in a bid to cross the Channel towards the UK

French police officers patrol the beaches in Wimereux near Calais after more migrants launched from the beach headed towards the UK

French police officers patrol the beaches in Wimereux near Calais after more migrants launched from the beach headed towards the UK

A deflated dinghy on the beach in Wimereux near Calais this afternoon after more migrants headed towards the UK

A deflated dinghy on the beach in Wimereux near Calais this afternoon after more migrants headed towards the UK

A discarded life jacket on the beach in Wimereux near Calais as migrants continue to launch small boats along the coastline

A discarded life jacket on the beach in Wimereux near Calais as migrants continue to launch small boats along the coastline

Official figures are yet to be released but it is feared that Tuesday’s total could rival the 1,185 record reached last Thursday as the migrant crisis reaches breaking point. The figures have taken some two days to calculate due to the sheer number of arrivals.

The previous daily high was 853. At least 3,941 migrants have arrived this month in 121 boats, taking the total for the year so far to 23,683.

This morning, an RNLI Dover lifeboat was launched just after 5.30am at the request of the UK Coastguard following reports of a grey dinghy in distress. 

A number of 999 calls were made to the rescue centre requesting assistance with reports that a man onboard required medical attention. 

Lifeboat crew reported there were 23 other people on the 6-foot grey rib that was caught out in rough seas. A rescue and recovery operation was launched with a helicopter seen airlifting a person to hospital.  

A spokesman for the Coastgaurd confirmed: ‘HM Coastguard has been coordinating a search and rescue response to an incident off Kent, working with Border Force and other partners. We sent the coastguard helicopter from Lydd and Dover RNLI lifeboat.’ 

Meanwhile, the Home Office also confirmed that 66 migrants made the perilous Channel crossing in three boats on Wednesday. French authorities stopped a further 43 in three small boats.

It comes after it was reported that Channel migrants who reach Britain could be fast-tracked to an off-shore processing centre in Albania.

Ministers are discussing opening an asylum centre in the eastern European country, which they believe would act as a deterrent for migrants crossing from northern France.

However, No 10 said it would not comment on conversations with specific countries over the processing of migrants who arrive in the UK. 

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘I’ve always been clear that we want to keep all options on the table.

‘As illegal migration is an international issue, you’d expect us to have discussions with both France and other international partners to help reduce illegal migration.’

He added the UK had been in talks with a ‘number of countries’ but added: ‘I’m simply saying I’m not going to get into speculation about ongoing discussions with individually named countries.

‘As you’d expect given the international elements of this, it is right the Government speaks to a number of countries about these global challenges.’

Small boat debris on the beach in Wimereux near Calais as migrants continue to launch small boats along the coastline in a bid to cross the Channel towards the UK

Small boat debris on the beach in Wimereux near Calais as migrants continue to launch small boats along the coastline in a bid to cross the Channel towards the UK

A RNLI Dover lifeboat was launched just after 5.30am on Thursday morning at the request of the UK Coastguard in Dover to rescue a boat in distress

A RNLI Dover lifeboat was launched just after 5.30am on Thursday morning at the request of the UK Coastguard in Dover to rescue a boat in distress

Lifeboat crew reported there were 23 other people on the 6-foot grey rib that was caught out in rough seas. A rescue and recovery operation was launched with a helicopter seen airlifting a person to hospital

Lifeboat crew reported there were 23 other people on the 6-foot grey rib that was caught out in rough seas. A rescue and recovery operation was launched with a helicopter seen airlifting a person to hospital

Migrants are escorted by Border Force staff into Dover harbour after crossing the Channel this morning, with the crisis continuing

Migrants are escorted by Border Force staff into Dover harbour after crossing the Channel this morning, with the crisis continuing

The number of migrants who made the crossing today is unclear, though it comes after Tuesday saw nearly 1,000 detained

The number of migrants who made the crossing today is unclear, though it comes after Tuesday saw nearly 1,000 detained

A newly arrived migrant is seen on board a bus in Dover harbour after crossing the channel this morning and being detained by the Border Force

A newly arrived migrant is seen on board a bus in Dover harbour after crossing the channel this morning and being detained by the Border Force

Today's arrivals come as ministers are discussing opening an asylum centre in Albania, which they believe would act as a deterrent for migrants crossing from northern France

Today’s arrivals come as ministers are discussing opening an asylum centre in Albania, which they believe would act as a deterrent for migrants crossing from northern France

Anyone seeking asylum in Britain after arriving by illegal routes, such as in dinghies and small boats, would be flown out to the new centre within seven days, the Times said.

However, the project could cost the British taxpayer £100,000 per migrant for flights and accommodation.

‘Off shore processing is our best hope now, as nothing else is working,’ an unnamed minister told the newspaper.

Earlier reports of plans for offshore processing centres including using disused oil rigs in the North Sea – which were mooted last year – ultimately proved fruitless.

But the likelihood of sealing a deal with Tirana were now ‘looking good’, a UK government source said, despite Albanian foreign minister Olta Xhacka rubbishing the idea just last month.

The latest development in the migrant crisis comes after Home Secretary Priti Patel vowed earlier this week to stop ‘100 per cent’ of Channel crossings from France. 

Ten migrants are found dead after suffocating in packed wooden boat carrying 100 across the Mediterranean 

Ten migrants have been found dead in an overcrowded wooden boat trying to cross the Mediterranean.

The ramshackle boat, which was packed with around 100 refugees, was found by the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) team, drifting 30 nautical miles away from the coast of Libya, where it departed. 

Dozens of survivors were rescued by the MSF team, and are now on the Geo Barents rescue vessel.

Those on board revealed there was a powerful smell of fuel in the boat and victims had spent more than 13 hours crammed in the lower deck. 

So far this year, around 1,225 migrants have died or gone missing while trying to make the perilous crossing to Europe via the Mediterranean. 

Caroline Willemen, project coordinator on the Geo Barents, described the Mediterranean as the ‘deadliest migration route’.

‘We are once more witnessing Europe’s unwillingness to provide the much needed dedicated and proactive search and rescue capacity in the Central Mediterranean’ she added.

But her claim that she had agreed the plan with French counterpart Gerald Darmanin was then contradicted by Paris yesterday.  

Dan O’Mahoney, Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, said: ‘We are facing a global migration crisis and the number of people arriving on UK shores is unacceptable.

‘We must work closely with our European and international partners to target the ruthless organised criminal gangs behind these deadly crossing and welcome the French Government’s commitment to step up action to prevent crossings, including increased surveillance, greater intelligence sharing and deployment of frontline operations

‘The New Plan for Immigration will fix the broken system, break the deadly business model of the people smugglers and prevent further loss of life.’ 

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab has confirmed that the Government is looking at processing migrants who cross the Channel in small boats overseas.

He told LBC Radio: ‘First of all, you’re always better off dealing with the flow of migrants from a crisis or a conflict in the region itself, our overwhelming focus is on that. It’s better for migrants, it’s better to be resettled and relocated nearer to your home.

‘But to the extent that we get this flow over to the UK, it’s important to reduce the pull factor, we will work with all our partners – and it’s not just one country, we’ve looked at the Australian experience, we’ve been talking with the Danes about this and we want to make sure the processing, if it’s possible – and that will depend on the good will and co-operation of partners – can be done elsewhere.’

Asked if this will include Albania and Rwanda, he said: ‘Let me avoid talking about individual countries but just say with international partners this is something we’re probing because we want to test the idea because we will do everything we can to resolve this problem.’

Pressed if the plan will cost £100,000 per migrant, he said: ‘I don’t recognise that number. Until you’ve got a detailed agreement with a particular country, I don’t think we’ll be in a position to cost it.’

Meanwhile, MailOnline can reveal that migrants evicted from their squalid Dunkirk camp by French police have set up a new encampment in a field next door.

Others have erected their tents in woods less than half a mile away from their demolished camp to keep alive their dream of finding a place on a boat to the UK.

The crowded camp on an area of abandoned industrial land and was home to 1,500 migrants until it was closed down by police at Grand-Synthe near Dunkirk.

On Tuesday, MailOnline witnessed at least boats full of migrants slipping away from two remote and near deserted beaches south of Calais

On Tuesday, MailOnline witnessed at least boats full of migrants slipping away from two remote and near deserted beaches south of Calais

Around 40 migrants were brought ashore at Dungeness on Tuesday by an RNLI lifeboat. They included two exhausted women who had to be carried ashore. This was not believed to be the same group pictured leaving France

Around 40 migrants were brought ashore at Dungeness on Tuesday by an RNLI lifeboat. They included two exhausted women who had to be carried ashore. This was not believed to be the same group pictured leaving France 

Residents of the camp were given the option of being taken by coach to shelters across France in return for going through the French process for asylum seekers.

But most of them chose to continue living rough and refused to accept the offer out of fears that it would hinder their long term aim to reach the UK. 

Small groups of migrants today returned to their old camp and broke through the fences erected by police in a half-hearted bid to seal off the entrance.

MailOnline today witnessed pitiful scenes as former camp residents rummaged through stinking piles or rubbish left behind after the mass eviction. 

Migrants piled up old clothing, bedding, tents and pots and pans into supermarket trolleys which they wheeled away to their new camps.

Others chopped up pallets and other construction material from flattened makeshift shelters to get fuel for their camp fires.

Many of the migrants including families with children had only a short distance to travel to their new home in the field next door to their old camp.

They included Iraqi Kurdish mother Kazhal Rzgar, 46, and her two daughters Hadya, 22, and Hasta, seven, and her and her two sons who put up their old tent in a corner of the field.

The family have been surviving largely on food hand outs from charities since they arrived 16 days ago at the Grand-Synthe camp after landing in Italy on a migrant boat.

Channel migrants are set to be flown to ALBANIA to a new asylum centre at cost of £100,000-a-head a year as French deny agreeing to stop all crossings 

Channel migrants who reach Britain could be fast-tracked to an off-shore processing centre in Albania, it was reported last night.

Ministers are discussing opening an asylum centre in the eastern European country, which they believe would act as a deterrent for migrants crossing from northern France.

Anyone seeking asylum in Britain after arriving by illegal routes, such as in dinghies and small boats, would be flown out to the new centre within seven days, the Times said.

However, the project would cost the British taxpayer £100,000 per migrant for flights and accommodation.

‘Off shore processing is our best hope now, as nothing else is working,’ an unnamed minister told the newspaper.

Earlier reports of plans for offshore processing centres including using disused oil rigs in the North Sea – which were mooted last year – ultimately proved fruitless.

But the likelihood of sealing a deal with Tirana were now ‘looking good’, a UK government source said, despite Albanian foreign minister Olta Xhacka rubbishing the idea just last month.

The latest development in the migrant crisis comes after Home Secretary Priti Patel vowed earlier this week to stop ‘100 per cent’ of Channel crossings from France. 

But her claim that she had agreed the plan with French counterpart Gerald Darmanin was then contradicted by Paris yesterday. 

On Tuesday, around 80 migrants were pictured climbing into inflatable dinghies in northern France before they were pushed into the sea and began their journey to Britain. 

A total of 1,185 people crossed the channel last Thursday, eclipsing the previous daily high of 853. Overall this year, there have been more than 20,000 crossings.

Channel migrants who reach Britain could be fast-tracked to an off-shore processing centre in Albania, it was reported last night. Above: Migrants arriving in Kent earlier this week

Channel migrants who reach Britain could be fast-tracked to an off-shore processing centre in Albania, it was reported last night. Above: Migrants arriving in Kent earlier this week

Ministers are discussing opening an asylum centre in the eastern European country, which they believe would act as a deterrent for migrants crossing from northern France

Ministers are discussing opening an asylum centre in the eastern European country, which they believe would act as a deterrent for migrants crossing from northern France

In response to news about the plan to open an asylum centre in Albania, a Home Office spokesman said: ‘Migrants making these dangerous crossings are putting their lives at risk and it is vital we do everything we can to prevent them and break the business model of the criminal gangs exploiting people.

What happens to migrants after they have arrived in the UK? 

Migrants who have been picked up after landing or intercepted at sea are taken to a Border Force processing centre, such as Tug Haven near Dover. 

Here arrivals are triaged to identify any medical needs or vulnerabilities, fed and checked to see if they have a criminal record. Adults have an initial interview before being sent to accommodation centres across Britain, paid for by UK taxpayers and provided by private contractors. 

The migrants are given £37.75 per week for essentials like food, clothes and toiletries while they wait for a decision on their asylum application. If the claim is rejected they face deportation back to their home country. 

Kent County Council normally takes unaccompanied children into its care, although other local authorities are also involved in this programme. 

‘People should claim asylum in the first safe country they arrive in, and as part of our response it is important we have a maritime deterrent in the channel and work with international partners to put an end to these dangerous journeys.’

When the plans were first reported by The Sun last month, the Albanian prime minister’s official spokesman branded the reports as ‘absolutely untrue’.   

The news comes after it was suggested in March that asylum seekers who cross the Channel illegally to reach Britain could be sent to a third country such as Turkey. 

Other options on the table were islands off the coast of Scotland, the Isle of Man, or Gibraltar. 

At the time, charities branded the proposals ‘inhumane’, while an immigration expert said that whilst there was no law prohibiting such a move, there was ‘bound to be a court case about it’. 

On Wednesday, new research from the British Refugee Council revealed that nearly two thirds of migrants who cross the Channel to reach the UK are originally from the Middle East.    

More than 61 per cent of those who make the dangerous journey across the 21 mile straight Calais to Dover are nationals from countries such as Iran and Iraq.

The highest number of migrants arriving in small boats are from Iran, with 3,187 Iranian nationals reaching UK shores from January last year to May this year. 

This accounts for 26 per cent of all arrivals in small boats over this period.

Figures also show 2,185 people from Iraq crossed the Channel over the same period. 

The figure makes up around 17 per cent of the 12,195 migrants who arrived in the UK in small boats in 2020 and at the start of this year.

A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, onboard the Dungeness Lifeboat following a small boat incident in the Channel

A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, onboard the Dungeness Lifeboat following a small boat incident in the Channel

Other Middle Eastern nationalities in the top 10 countries of people who arrived in small boats include war-torn nations such as Syria and Yemen, along with oil rich Kuwait.  

From non-Middle Eastern countries, the largest number of arrivals came from Sudan, in north-east Africa. Around eight per cent of small boat arrivals were from Vietnam, while around six per cent of people arrived from Eritrea and one per cent from Ethiopia.

All of the nations in the top 10, which make up 91 per cent of arrivals on UK shores, are countries were human rights abuses and persecution are common, according to the British Refugee Council. 

The top ten nationalities of migrants arriving on small boats to the UK 

According to figures obtained by the British Refugee council, migrants arriving in the UK in small boats between January 2020 and May 2021 were from: 

Iran: 26 per cent

Iraq 17 per cent

Sudan 11 per cent

Syria: 10 per cent

Vietnam 8 per cent

Eritrea: 6 per cent

Afghanistan 5 per cent

Kuwait 5 per cent

Yemen 2 per cent

Ethiopia 1 per cent

Other: 9 per cent  

The research came after MailOnline journalists witnessed the moment that two 50ft long inflatable dinghies loaded with up to 40 migrants each leave northern France on Tuesday morning. 

At dawn. dog walkers and a jogger watched in amazement as the two separate groups, who had been hiding overnight in the sand dunes, ran to the water’s edge with their giant boats.

Smuggler minders waded in to the sea as the migrants climbed aboard for the dangerous trip to Britain but they did not make the journey with them.  

Despite the ongoing crossings and the lack of progress in stopping them, Ms Patel had claimed she had agreed with French interior minister Gerald Darmanin agreed to work to prevent ‘100 per cent of crossings’ of the Channel.   

The Home Office issued a joint statement from the pair which said they had agreed measures to ‘stop the dangerous crossings’ of the ‘deadly route’.

But the French embassy in London said the 100% figure ‘should not be presented as an agreed figure’.

Ms Patel and Mr Darmanin held talks on Monday night with the UK and France involved in a long-running row over how to address the problem of migrants seeking to cross the Channel.

The ‘joint statement’ issued afterwards said: ‘Both the Home Secretary and interior minister agreed to strengthen operational cooperation further.

‘More must be done to stop the dangerous crossings.

‘They agreed to accelerate the delivery of the commitments made in the joint agreement of July 2021 to deliver on their joint determination to prevent 100% of crossings and make this deadly route unviable.’

But the French embassy said on Twitter: ‘For the record, the 100% figure was not agreed between the Home Secretary and French interior minister @GDarmanin and should not be presented as an agreed commitment: it is not.

‘And it is not part of the joint statement.’

However, in a press conference on October 9, Mr Darmanin said that with the correct resources and the support of the British authorities, 100 per cent should be able to be reached.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk