Arrivals of illegal immigrants by ferry double
THE number of illegal immigrants who were successfully smuggled into Britain on ferries has more than doubled in the past three years, according to official figures. Ministers have disclosed that the number of “clandestine entrants” who made their way in through Dover and other ports rose from 1,432 in 2013 to 2,935 last year.
The true figure is likely to be significantly higher as many illegal immigrants disappear after entering the UK and are never discovered by authorities, an expert said.
Lord Green of Deddington, chairman of Migration Watch UK, who obtained the figures, said: “Despite all the efforts that have been made to tighten up security in Calais these figures show that the number getting through and later detected has doubled in three years.
“There are bound to be others who are never detected and simply disappear.
“This points to the likelihood that there are similar inflows from Belgium and Holland and indeed from other French ports.”
He added: “It’s hard to see how we can take effective measures unless we go for ‘identicards’ in Britain.
“At the moment it is much too easy to disappear. The more people who get through, the more will be encouraged to try.”
The Home Office disclosed that over the past three years more than 7,000 people have made their way into Britain through ferry ports. Just over half of them were caught at the ports, while the remainder were found
elsewhere in the UK. Last June, 68 migrants including 15 children were found locked in containers aboard four lorries in Harwich, Essex.
In November, two bodies were found inside a container transported from Northern Italy to Dover.
Earlier this year, the port of Calais was temporarily closed after a group of about 50 migrants broke through a security fence and managed to board a P&O ferry.
Last year, Theresa May, the Home Secretary, signed a deal with France to spend millions of pounds on fencing around a Calais migrant camp known as the “Jungle”. As a result, migrants have increasingly attempted to use other ports such as Dunkirk.
The Daily Telegraph has begun a Border Security campaign which highlights the porous nature of Britain’s borders and urges the Government to tighten controls to keep out terrorists.
A Home Office spokesman said: “The security of our border is paramount. That is why we have invested tens of millions of pounds to further increase security at our controls in France, while targeting the criminal gangs behind illegal attempts to enter the UK.”
Migrants attempt to board a lorry waiting to cross to Britain