Britain spends £500,000 a year storing boats used by migrants

Britain spends £500,000 a year storing boats used by migrants

Britain spends £500,000 a year to keep Channel migrants’ boats piled up in a car park in case the ‘owner’ comes forward to claim them – and now plans to build a £2MILLION processing facility in Dover

  • Estimates suggest government spends £500,000 a year story migrants boats 
  • Legislation states boats must be stored for 12 months in case people claim them
  • Storing and transporting the boats is estimated to cost around half a million
  • Comes as Priti Patel plans to build new £2m migrant processing facility in Dover 

Britain spent an estimated £500,000 in the past year storing boats used by migrants to cross the Channel.

The government has to keep hold of the small boats for 12 months to give the owner the opportunity to claim them – despite no one coming forward to collect one in the past year. 

The latest figures come after Home Secretary Priti Patel revealed plans to build a £2million processing facility in Dover. 

According to The Times, many of the boats are disposed of after the 12 months because they are no longer seaworthy or cannot be used for another purpose. 

Border Force can also hold onto the boats for longer if they are part of an active investigation – such as any potential action against people smugglers. 

Britain spent an estimated £500,000 in the past year storing boats used by migrants to cross the Channel. Pictured: One of two areas being used at a warehouse facility in Dover, Kent, to store boats

They are stored in a large outdoor area in Dover initially before being taken to ‘Queen’s Warehouses’ storage facilities which house seized or detained materials. 

In a bid to cut down wastage and put the boats to good use, ministers are expected to push forward with a change to legislation so they can be sold or donated. 

Estimates provided suggest the government has spent £500,000 transporting and storing the boats.  

As well as plans to alter legislation for storage of the boats, the Home Office has also been given permission for a new processing facility in Dover – which is hoped to be operational by May.

The 24-hour centre, which will be set up in a converted welding site, is expected to cost £2million and millions more to run. 

One source told The Sun: ‘This is a clear sign this problem is not over. It shows there is no end in sight for the boat crossings.’

In a letter to the Home Affairs Select Committee, the Home Secretary said: ‘The Department is determined to deliver a long-term, sustainable solution, with a new facility to be ready next May.’

Pictured: A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, on board a Border Force vessel, following a small boat incident in the Channel on Thursday

Late last month, drone pictures showed more than 100 small boats piled up in rows in a fenced-off compound in Dover – evidence of thousands of people’s journeys to the UK in 2021.

The collection of vessels seems to be significantly higher than another set pictured in storage in Dover in 2020. 

It comes amid a record-breaking year for migrants crossing to the UK – despite vows from the Home Office to make the route ‘unviable’.

More than 10,000 migrants have officially crossed the Channel by small boat so far this year after almost 500 made the dangerous journey on Wednesday.

Then as many as a further 300 are thought to have set sail for Britain Thursday, after a stream of fresh arrivals off the Kent coast. 

More than 50 migrants were seen disembarking Border Force catamaran Hurricane around 10.30am. Cutter Speedwell then brought in around 50 more – this time including women and sleeping babies – about half an hour later. 


Picture one: Vessels stacked up at the warehouse facility in Dover in 2020. Picture two: 2021, a significant increase in vessels seized after a record year for crossings


Picture one: 2020, a small section of a facility for migrant boats. Picture two: 2021, the huge growth in vessels amid a record-breaking year for migrant crossings


Picture one: 2020, a neatly organised storage center in Kent for migrant boats. Picture two: Taken in 2021, a large increase in the number of seized boats

Government officials fear that high numbers of crossings will continue as summer goes on, with small boat arrivals this year having already passed the total for the whole of 2020.

Airport border staff are ‘redeployed to the Channel’ to tackle migrant crisis

Border officers are being pulled out of airports and relocated to the English Channel to help deal with record numbers in migrants arriving in Britain, it has been reported.

Agents from Border Force are having to leave positions at some of the busiest border gates in the UK for Kent, where more staff are needed to process and detain migrants arriving by small boats.

However, the move by the Home Office will likely worsen queues at airports, where queues for passport control have already been stretched to hours in length.

The Sunday Telegraph reported officers were being redeployed to Dover from airports including Heathrow and Gatwick as well as the ports of Southampton, Portsmouth and Newhaven.

Lucy Moreton, of the Union for Borders, Immigration and Customs, told the publication that this could lead to greater delays for passengers, especially during peak times of the day when the passengers from multiple flights arrive at the same time. 

Border officers are being pulled out of airports and relocated to the English Channel to help deal with record numbers in migrants arriving in Britain, it has been reported. 

Agents from Border Force are having to leave positions at some of the busiest border gates in the UK for Kent, where more staff are needed to process and detain migrants arriving by small boats. 

Despite this, the UK continues to see fewer boat arrivals and asylum claims than many of its European counterparts.

At least 44,230 people have arrived in Europe via the Mediterranean by land and sea so far this year, according to data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

In recent months, law enforcement agencies have noticed the organised gangs behind the English Channel crossings becoming increasingly sophisticated, launching boats from a wider area of the northern French coast.

They will also send out vessels in waves – smaller boats sent out first to tie up the French authorities, while more craft carrying larger numbers of migrants make the crossing later in the day.

Officials have been alarmed by the overcrowding in the vessels – one boat last week had 83 people on board – and the safety conditions.

They have come across inflatable boats held together with duct tape and migrants with rubber rings or bike tyre inner tubes rather than life jackets.

Last week Home Secretary Priti Patel announced an agreement to more than double the number of police patrolling French beaches, with the Government to give France £54 million.

But, while efforts to address the problem have been stepped up by Emmanuel Macron’s government – with around 2,700 people taken back to France so far this year after being intercepted at sea – there is still some frustration in the Home Office about French policies.

 The boats are stored after being intercepted in The Channel by Border Force as attempts to make the crossing continue

This year has seen record numbers of migrants crossing to the UK despite vows from the Home Office to make the route ‘unviable’

Government officials fear that high numbers of crossings will continue as summer goes on, with small boat arrivals this year having already passed the total for the whole of 2020

Officials have been alarmed by the overcrowding in the vessels – one boat last week had 83 people on board – and the safety conditions

The French authorities will not intercept migrants who offer resistance to being rescued, but the UK has a different interpretation of the law.

Priti Patel’s plan to pay France £55m to handle migrants trying to cross the Channel: Explained 

 

Priti Patel has agreed to give France another £54million to stop the growing number of migrants crossing the Channel. 

The Home Secretary’s controversial agreement with French interior minister Gerald Darmanin will see policing numbers along the French coast more than double to 200 to cover a wider area.

There will also be an increased use of aerial surveillance, including drones. The two countries agreed to draw up a long-term plan for a ‘smart border’ using technology to identify where crossings are being attempted.

But the deal failed to impress critics, who accuse the French authorities of not doing enough to stop small boats leaving their territorial waters.

With UK support last year, France doubled the number of officers deployed daily on French beaches, improved intelligence sharing and purchased more cutting-edge technology. This resulted in France preventing twice as many crossings so far this year than in the same period in 2020.

However, as French interceptions increased, the Home Office said that organised criminal gangs have changed their tactics, moving further up the French coast, and forcing migrants to take even longer, riskier journeys.

Charities branded the measures inhumane, while refugee rights campaigner Lord Dubs said Miss Patel’s plans were a ‘disservice to this country’s history’.

British offers to help board vessels in French waters have so far been rebuffed by Paris, it is believed.

The Home Secretary told MPs last week that she had made her views on the situation ‘abundantly clear’ to her French counterpart.

The UK is also helping to fund aerial surveillance along the French coast but legal difficulties in France have meant that the drones are not being used as much as had been hoped.

Officials acknowledge there is no silver bullet to tackle the situation, but they have been in contact with counterparts in Australia and Greece to discuss how those countries cope with situations off their coastlines.

Previously, it emerged that Albanian criminals are charging up to £20,000 to smuggle migrants to the UK through TikTok and other social media sites.

A Mail investigation found popular sites awash with adverts from human traffickers, sometimes mocking attempts by the British authorities to stop them and posting slickly produced step-by-step tutorials to help illegal migrants sneak into the UK.

They illustrate the scale of the problem facing Home Secretary Priti Patel, who recently visited Albania to sign a deal speeding up deportations of criminals and failed asylum seekers.

One people smuggler, whose TikTok account has been viewed by tens of thousands of people, boasts in his profile: ‘All interested who’d like to get to England contact my inbox. Journey secure 100 per cent.’ 

His videos feature pictures of the Union Jack and Big Ben with the comment: ‘Secure journey from Albania to the UK. 23K Euro.’

Priti Patel previously agreed to give France another £54million to stop the growing number of migrants crossing the Channel.

The Home Secretary’s controversial agreement with French interior minister Gerald Darmanin will see policing numbers along the French coast more than double to 200 to cover a wider area.

There will also be an increased use of aerial surveillance, including drones. 

The two countries agreed to draw up a long-term plan for a ‘smart border’ using technology to identify where crossings are being attempted.

But the deal failed to impress critics, who accuse the French authorities of not doing enough to stop small boats leaving their territorial waters.

With UK support last year, France doubled the number of officers deployed daily on French beaches, improved intelligence sharing and purchased more cutting-edge technology. This resulted in France preventing twice as many crossings so far this year than in the same period in 2020. 

Officials have come across inflatable boats held together with duct tape and migrants with rubber rings or bike tyre inner tubes rather than life jackets

Border Force vessels worked through downpours of rain to bring 378 migrants into the Port of Dover on Sunday, one of the busiest days of 2021. Pictured: One man flashes a ‘V for victory’ sign as they arrive in port

A group of migrants using oars to cross the English Channel were intercepted by a French Navy ship on Monday July 26 

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