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Channel migrant smugglers are 'ruthless, shameless criminals'


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The Home Office has lashed out at "ruthless, shameless criminals" who continue to smuggle people into Britain following the tragic death of 27 last week.

This morning, another 100 had to be rescued from the sea in three separate incidents after their boats began to sink.

Migrants brought ashore by an RNLI rescue crew. Picture: UKNIP
Migrants brought ashore by an RNLI rescue crew. Picture: UKNIP

Dan O’Mahoney, the Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, said: “Unbelievably, these gangs continue to ply their deadly trade with more crossings taking place today, shamelessly putting lives at risk."

He added: "Last week’s tragedy is a devastating reminder of the dangers of Channel crossings and we are determined to work with our European and international partners to target the ruthless organised criminal gangs behind them."

He said the Government’s New Plan for Immigration will provide a long-term solution to "fix the broken system, tackle criminal gangs and prevent further loss of life”.

His outburst came after the Home Office confirmed UK authorities had plucked 100 people from danger earlier today.

The Home Office said French authorities had not intercepted any craft reaching Britain today.

Migrants brought ashore by an RNLI rescue crew. Picture: UKNIP
Migrants brought ashore by an RNLI rescue crew. Picture: UKNIP

Pictures showed RNLI lifeboats packed with people on-board – including young children – arriving in Dover in the dark this morning.

A coastguard spokesman said it had responded to a "number of incidents".

A Home Office spokeswoman stressed people should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach and "not risk their lives making these dangerous crossings from a safe EU country".

She added: "The Channel is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. It is an extremely dangerous environment."

She said UK and French authorities had prevented more than 20,000 migrant attempts and this year Immigration Enforcement had made 50 arrests concerning small boats and 10 convictions.

Migrants brought ashore by an RNLI rescue crew. Picture: UKNIP
Migrants brought ashore by an RNLI rescue crew. Picture: UKNIP

Since July 2020, the Joint Intelligence Centre with France has busted 17 criminal gangs operating small boats and made more than 400 arrests.

Since the start of 2020 there have been 66 prosecutions jailing criminals for a total of more than 52 years.

The Government’s New Plan for Immigration will change the law so those who help migrants embark on dangerous crossings will face a maximum of life imprisonment.

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