Ex-Border Force hits out at French authorities, as UK sees record high migrant crossings

3 June 2021, 10:07 | Updated: 3 June 2021, 10:10

By Fiona Jones

Ex-Border Force chief Kevin Saunders hit out at French authorities as the UK sees record high Channel crossings - despite the Government spending around £115 million on security at Calais.

Record numbers of migrants are expected to cross the Channel in small boats this year after 1,600 people landed on the shores of Kent last month alone

More than double the number of migrants arrived in the UK from France in May, compared with the same month in 2020.

Last Friday was the busiest day of the year so far, with a total of 568 crossings occurring over the sunny bank holiday weekend.

Mr Saunders told LBC he'd "ask for a refund" from the French authorities over their handling of the crisis: "[The Government] were hoping the French would stop the boats leaving France.

"What we're seeing is the French police patrolling the beaches - not brilliantly this weekend that's for sure. The answer for this is the Gendarmerie Maritime, the French navy, to stop boats leaving France.

"There is a report that one of the French vessels actually escorted asylum seekers out of French territorial waters over the weekend."

Nick questioned the relationship between French and UK authorities, with Mr Saunders replying: "When I was there we did work closely together and we had a very good working relationship. I don't know what the situation is now...we set up a joint UK-French intelligence system, that can't be working very well because people are still coming across."

Over 8,640 migrants crossed the Channel in 2020 which was quadruple the figure the year before and Home Secretary Priti Patel has come under pressure to solve the crisis with ministers calling for "urgent action."