The Daily Telegraph

France spends UK border money on microwaves and riding boots

- By James Crisp

BRITISH money sent to France to stop illegal migrant crossings was spent on microwaves, phone chargers and vacuum cleaners, it has emerged.

Some of the funding was also spent on guarding the French border with Italy, which is about 560 miles from where small boats crossing the English Channel set off.

France has failed to stop more than half of all migrants trying to make the illegal Channel crossing since 2018, according to a freedom of informatio­n request by the Politico website.

Theresa May, as prime minister, agreed to pay Emmanuel Macron £44.5million for border security in the Sandhurst Treaty in 2018.

The UK plans to send France another £471.6 million to “stop the boats”

between now and 2026. This year, British funding was 10 per cent of France’s border protection budget.

A large portion of the Sandhurst money was spent on transport such as helicopter­s, e-scooters, motorbikes and cars, and surveillan­ce equipment such as binoculars, dash cams and drones.

But cash was also spent on appliances for French police such as microwaves, vacuum cleaners for cars and car adapters for charging smartphone­s.

About £130,383 was spent on establishi­ng a mounted brigade in the Baie de Somme, which included the purchase of riding boots, helmets and care for the horses. The brigade has annual operating costs of £26,000.

British cash was also used to buy vehicles, printers and drones for a division of police guarding the Franco-italian border.

About half of the Sandhurst fund, £17.4 million, was spent this year. The French interior ministry told Politico its focus was on dismantlin­g smuggling networks and said 27 gangs were broken up in 2022 and 28 so far this year.

An official said it made sense to fund the Franco-italian border as some migrants arrive in Calais from Italy.

A Home Office spokesman declined to comment on the specific areas of spending, Politico reported.

“The unacceptab­le number of people risking their lives by making these dangerous crossings is placing an unpreceden­ted strain on our asylum system,” the spokesman said. “Our priority is to stop the boats, and thanks to the work of the Small Boats Operationa­l Command alongside our French partners, crossings are down by more than 20 per cent compared to the same point last year.”

French police found and stopped 3,400 boats, carrying about 81,000 people, from reaching the UK between January 2018 and August this year.


The amount spent on establishi­ng a mounted brigade in the Baie de Somme, which included care for the horses.

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