The Daily Telegraph
Migrants offered ‘cut-price deal’ to cross Channel for the Queen’s funeral
Albanian gangs use images of Her Majesty in Tiktok advert for those seeking to make the 21-mile journey
‘The £1,600 is half the price of the previous cheapest “summer sale” deals of £3,000 to £3,500 that people smuggling gangs were offering two months ago’
ALBANIAN people-smuggling gangs are using the Queen’s funeral to promote cut-price deals for migrants seeking to cross the Channel.
The traffickers are using social media to push half-price deals of £1,600 per person to enable any migrant who “wants to take part in the funeral of this lady” to enter the UK by next Monday.
The advertisements on Tiktok carry images of Queen Elizabeth II in a mauve coat and hat and also claim the people smugglers will be able to take families and children on the perilous 21-mile journey across the Dover Strait. The £1,600 is half the price of the previous cheapest “summer sale” deals of £3,000 to £3,500 that people smuggling gangs were offering just two months ago.
The promotions appear to be primarily targeted at Albanians, who now account for about 60 per cent of the record number of arrivals across the Channel this summer.
The people smugglers have also been offering “children-for-free” deals in an effort to encourage families to make the crossing.
Border Force officials revealed that during the Conservative leadership race, the traffickers sought to entice more migrants to cross by warning they faced a crackdown once a new Government was formed under Liz Truss.
The new Prime Minister has pledged to negotiate more Rwanda-style asylum deportation deals, maintain the Royal Navy’s role in overseeing the Channel operation and take a tougher approach with France to end the “deadly trade” of the trafficking gangs.
Government sources said the people smugglers’ social media promotions were “totally unacceptable”.
“This government is already tackling this deceitful online propaganda, with law enforcement, social media companies and overseas governments,” they said. “No one should question this government’s determination to break the business model of the criminal gangs, as every government department has been involved in tackling the issue of illegal migration.”
The Tiktok advertisement, promoting the cut-price crossings in Albanian, was uploaded just as the Queen’s coffin arrived in Edinburgh on Sunday, on its journey to lay in state in Westminster Hall from tomorrow.
Bearing a photograph of the Queen during a walkabout, it asked: “Who will participate in the funeral of this lady? It is still possible for 1,900 euros if you contact me. We also accept families and children in our boats, thank you.”
The Daily Telegraph has previously revealed that Albanian Channel migrants posted pictures of themselves sightseeing at London’s top tourist destinations including the Millennium Wheel and Horse Guards Parade.
Suella Braverman, the new Home Secretary, is understood to want to hold more migrants on arrival in detention facilities, similar to the Greek-style camps proposed by her predecessor, Priti Patel, and to establish joint Anglofrench patrols on the French beaches to disrupt the people smugglers and prevent more departures.
So far this month, 2,917 people have made the crossing while the number of migrants known to have arrived so far this year stands at 27,960, according to government figures.