A record 1,295 illegal immigrants crossed the English Channel and arrived in Kent on Monday, the highest figure for a single day since the current system of record-keeping began in 2018.
The Ministry of Defence, which is operating Operation Isotrope—in which the Royal Navy intercepts small boats from France and Belgium and escorts them ashore—said 27 boats were spotted on Monday, with around 40 or 50 people each on board.
The former leader of UKIP and the Brexit Party, Nigel Farage, wrote on Twitter: "So, 1295 people illegally crossed the Channel yesterday. It is a new record. Nearly all young men, many from Albania. This is a disgrace."
Monday's figure broke the previous record of 1,185, which was set on Nov. 11, 2021.
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More than 22,600 people have arrived in the UK by boat this year, compared to 12,500 at the same point last year. If Monday's figures were matched every day the number by the end of August will exceed the 28,526 who made the crossing in the whole of 2021.
On Tuesday the Border Force cutter Hurricane intercepted another boat with 40 people on board, including a family with two young children. They were escorted to safety in Dover and then passed on for processing at a former army barracks in nearby Manston.
"That would be a really unfair reflection of the work they’re doing,” said Heappey, who confirmed Operation Isotrope was due to be reviewed in January 2023 and it was hoped Home Office staff would take over much of the stewarding from the armed forces.
A government spokesman told PA: “The rise in dangerous Channel crossings is unacceptable. Not only are they an overt abuse of our immigration laws but they risk the lives of vulnerable people, who are being exploited by ruthless criminal gangs."
“Under our new Migration and Economic Development Partnership with Rwanda, we are continuing preparations to relocate those who make these unnecessary and illegal journeys, helping to save lives by deterring others from crossing,” the spokesman added.