Record-breaking number of migrants reach UK shores on Wednesday

2 September 2020, 19:45 | Updated: 3 September 2020, 01:36

Wednesday's tally is almost double the last record set earlier in August
Wednesday's tally is almost double the last record set earlier in August. Picture: PA
Rachael Kennedy

By Rachael Kennedy

A record-breaking number of migrants have reached UK shores in the last 24 hours, according to Home Office data.

At least 409 people crossed the Channel in a flurry of small boats on Wednesday, with hundreds being intercepted mid-route and others managing to reach land themselves.

This tally, which could still be revised to include other ongoing incidents, is nearly double the last record high, which was set on 6 August with 235 people making the crossing.

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More than 5,600 migrants have now made similar journeys to the UK this year, prompting Boris Johnson to warn Parliament that Britain is a "target and magnet" for people traffickers.

He has also vowed to change the law to help ease the crisis.

READ MORE: David Lammy calls for British compassion for refugees and migrants

Large numbers of migrants were spotted - some smiling and waving - as they were safely brought into Kent on Wednesday aboard Border Force patrol vessels and in lifeboats.

Some were also carrying children who were too young to walk.

At some points, there were queues of Border Force boats that were forced to wait in the harbour due to the huge number of people being brought into land, while several empty dinghies were also towed in from open waters.

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The Home Office has recently looked to French authorities and "activist lawyers" as a source of blame for the rising number of crossings in the world's busiest shipping lane.

Royal Marine Dan O'Mahoney, the newly-appointed "clandestine Channel threat commander" is due to be among several people giving evidence about the crisis to the Home Affairs Committee tomorrow.

According to PA, which has been tracking the number of crossings, Wednesday's new high is the fifth time this year the record has been broken.

Prior to 6 August, a record was set on 30 July after 202 migrants reached the UK, and prior this - on 12 July - a record 180 made the trip.

On 3 June, which was the first record set of the year, there were a total of 166 who crossed the Channel in a single day.