Five young children among 158 migrants making first Channel crossing in two weeks

6 September 2021, 13:45

A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, by Border Force officers
A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, by Border Force officers. Picture: Alamy

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Four toddlers and a baby were among 158 migrants who crossed the English Channel to the UK on Sunday.

They arrived at Dover in the four small boats, the first to cross from France for more than two weeks.

The toddlers were wrapped in hooded jackets and the baby was being carried in an adult's arms.

Many more are thought to be attempting the journey on Monday morning.

Crossings over the perilous Dover Strait had been quiet due to poor weather.

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However, Border Force and French authorities are again active in the Channel on Monday in what could be a busy day for migrant crossings.

Sunday's arrivals brought the total number of people who have crossed to the UK aboard small boats this year to more than 12,500, according to data.

Crossings in 2021 have already eclipsed last year's annual total of 8,417 and that tally continues to rise on fair weather days.

Despite this, the UK continues to see far fewer boat arrivals and asylum claims than many of its European counterparts.

In Dover on Sunday, a child's cries were heard as they were helped ashore from a Border Force boat by immigration officials.

They were led up a gangway by staff and taken to the Home Office facility on the quayside.

Across the water, French authorities rescued a four-year-old child among 23 people on board an inflatable boat that got into difficulty after suffering engine damage.