Extraordinary footage has been released of Muslim migrants arriving on a Kent beach, kissing the pebbles, and visibly praying to God.
In the clip that went viral on social media, it later emerges the migrants – all men – were dropped off by an RNLI vessel.
The scenes come on yet another bumper day of illegal migrant crossings. The authorities have not yet released any figures, but the final tally is expected to be in the high hundreds following Monday’s record, 1,000-plus arrivals.
Eastbourne RNLI has revealed that 104 people needed to be rescued after their group of flimsy crafts strayed into the Channel’s shipping lanes, the world’s busiest.
This morning a British fisherman appeared on the Today program and told listeners the French were escorting migrant boats between shipping lanes to avert disaster rather than turning them back.
“It seems quite strange because we often see the French escorting them across from France into UK waters,” said fisherman, Matt Coker. “Quite often the UK Border Force will go out to meet the French and they’ll actually take the migrants onboard.
“I’m not sure, as much as the French are stopping them, they seem to be bringing them across,” he added.
Coker was adamant that French patrols had not increased in recent weeks and added that migrants are “being escorted though the busy shipping lanes that are the most dangerous point of the crossing.
“The French are escorting them through them lanes,” he asserted.
Calais MP, Pierre-Henri Dumont said patrols “doubled a few weeks ago” as he shrugged off threats from the British government to withhold some of the £54 million to be provided in exchange for greater efforts to stop the crossings.
“We have more and more patrols. The money that was promised to be given by the UK government to France is set to maintain this [higher] number of patrols,” added Mr Dumont.
The Home Office claim that as part of the deal, struck in July, the French are supposed to deploy manned and unmanned aircraft to spot smugglers launching from the coast, but this hasn’t materialised for several reasons. For instance, drones are not an option because of France’s privacy laws.
Home Secretary, Priti Patel today met with her French counterpart at a G7 meeting in London to plead for more action on France’s side of the Channel.
Optimism Patel would get a stronger commitment was low, however, not least because she is strongly rumoured to be facing the sack.