French police stop 14 migrants attempting to cross Channel in stolen trawler

Authorities hunt smugglers amid spike in illegal sea journeys

Chris Baynes
Wednesday 02 January 2019 01:36
French police stopped a group of migrants from attempting to cross the Channel in a trawler stolen from Boulogne port
French police stopped a group of migrants from attempting to cross the Channel in a trawler stolen from Boulogne port

French police have prevented 14 migrants from attempting to cross the Channel in a stolen fishing trawler.

Authorities stopped the group, including a mother and two children, after smugglers were seen breaking into a boat at the port of Boulogne.

The migrants said they had come from Iraq, according to a local prosecutor.

He said ”those seeking to help them on their way were busy breaking into the trawler” to let them aboard when harbour authorities called police.

Police are looking for two smuggling suspects involved in the attempted theft.

The incident on Tuesday came amid a surge in attempted Channel crossings, an increase that home secretary Sajid Javid has declared a “major incident”.

About 230 migrants tried to sail to England from northern France in December, according to the UK government.

Officials warned smugglers ”with a complete lack of regard for human life” were planning to send more migrants across the water on dinghies.

Sporadic crossings have been seen since the start of the Mediterranean refugee crisis in 2014, but numbers in the Channel started to increase in November.

A group of 12 Iranian migrants, including one child, were the latest detained by UK police after landing on a beach at Lydd-on-Sea, Kent, on Monday.

Investigators believe that increased security in Calais, where migrants have previously boarded lorries through the Channel Tunnel, and other French ports may have contributed to the spike in dinghy crossings.

Two Border Force cutters are to be called back from abroad to join a third already patrolling the Channel.

But lawyers and campaigners have cautioned that the recent rise has been “blown out of proportion” as the numbers arriving constitute a “tiny proportion” of people coming to Britain to seek asylum.

Government figures show there were an estimated 1,832 clandestine entries to the UK south coast ports – including people arriving on small boats as well as in ferries and in the back of lorries – in 2017/18. This was a decrease of 23 per cent on the previous year, when it stood at 2,366.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in