Migrant crisis deepens as smugglers change tactic with crossings surging by 40 percent

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The migrant crisis is escalating as people smugglers alter their strategies, resulting in a 40 percent surge in Channel crossings this year. Criminal gangs are now employing a shift in their tactics launching fewer boats more frequently to evade French beach patrols.

This change in approach has led to nearly two weeks of sustained low-level migrant activity, with boats being launched from the French coast daily for the past 12 days.

The highest number of arrivals in a single day was recorded on May 4, when five small boats transported 244 individuals to UK waters. Most other days saw only two or three boats successfully crossing to the UK.

On May 8, a lone boat arrived carrying 36 migrants.

Even though the numbers arriving are significantly lower than the peak days Border Force experiences in calmer seas, people smugglers are now launching boats in weather conditions they would typically deem unsuitable.

The migrant crisis is escalating as people smugglers alter their strategies, resulting in a 40 percent surge in Channel crossings this year. GB News has uncovered a shift in the tactics of criminal gangs, who are now launching fewer boats more frequently to evade French beach patrols.

A maritime source told GB News: "This apparent switch in tactics marks a dangerous new phase in cross-Channel people smuggling.

"Until now, we've primarily seen most people smuggling gangs wait for calm conditions before conducting mass launches of up to a dozen small boats. This strategy has overwhelmed French patrols and ensured the majority of small boats make it into the water."

However, the source warned that any move towards launching boats in poor weather was "clearly very dangerous".

This year has seen a tragic toll with 14 migrants perishing in various incidents while attempting the perilous journey across the Channel.

Despite fewer boats setting off, the frequency of these crossings is driving up the tally of Channel migrants alarmingly.

Since May 4, there has been a relentless streak of small boat launches, culminating in 1,272 individuals being intercepted in UK waters aboard 25 vessels.

The total number of migrants who have made the treacherous crossing to the UK this year has now skyrocketed to 9,550.

This figure represents an astonishing 40 percent surge over the 6,844 migrants recorded by the same time last year.

This increase starkly contrasts with the 36 percent decrease in small boat migrant numbers observed throughout 2023.

A maritime insider suggested that the change in smuggling strategies is "likely an effort to ensure more boats make it across, by targeting days when authorities are not expecting launches".

In response to the escalating crisis, a Home Office spokesperson said: "The unacceptable number of people who continue to cross the Channel demonstrates exactly why we must get flights to Rwanda off the ground as soon as possible."

"We continue to work closely with French police who are facing increasing violence and disruption on their beaches as they work tirelessly to prevent these dangerous, illegal and unnecessary journeys."

"Last year they stopped 26,000 people from reaching our shores.

"We remain committed to building on the successes that saw arrivals drop by more than a third last year, including tougher legislation and agreements with international partners, in order to save lives and stop the boats."

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