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Dozens of Channel migrant crossings foiled, but more attempts likely



Dozens of attempts by migrants to cross the English Channel from France have been disrupted in the last three weeks, the National Crime Agency has said.

However, Chris Hogben, the head of an NCA-led organised immigration crime task force, said more crossing attempts are likely.

Mr Hogben said French colleagues had “disrupted numerous attempts, recovering at least 95 migrants including nine children, and arrested seven people caught attempting to facilitate these crossings”.

“Dozens of attempted crossings have already been prevented,” he added.

Three “suspected facilitators” have also been arrested and charged in France, he said. They will face trial in the new year.

He added that the “organised criminals behind these most recent attempts are in the main not UK-based, but through our close collaboration with French authorities we are still having an impact on them and their activity”.

Earlier, it emerged that Home Secretary Sajid Javid was cutting short a family holiday to help deal with what he has described as a “major incident”.

Mr Javid is now facing calls to send in the Royal Navy.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid
Home Secretary Sajid Javid has cut short a family holiday

Independent MP and home affairs committee member John Woodcock told The Sun: “The public is losing confidence in the struggling Border Force. It’s time to stop the rot by sending in the Royal Navy.

“If the civilian force can’t cope, the navy must stop this crisis becoming a catastrophe.”

And another committee member, Conservative MP Tim Loughton, told the newspaper: “There is a serious security implication, as this is a likely route undesirables who have been fighting in Syria will use if they want to return to the UK.

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“Of course there is now a case for the Royal Navy to be brought in to do border protection in the Channel.”

Two separate groups of migrants attempting to enter the UK by boat were picked up on Friday, totalling 12 people.

Some of them are being treated for hypothermia.

The government has described the numbers as “deeply concerning”.

The Home Office said there was “concern that it is only a matter of time before people lose their lives”.

It added that plans are being drawn up for possible solutions, including scrambling more boats to the coast.

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