A kayak and six boats carrying migrants were brought to Dover on Tuesday morning after crossing the Channel illegally, as the French Navy was alleged to have escorted them across the sea.
Some 80 people made it to the UK after being shadowed across the busy shipping lane and into British waters by a French navy vessel.
Already this month, a record 681 people have made it to the UK in this way. Some 1,336 have made landfall since lockdown on March 23 and 1,715 have arrived this year in total.
Those numbers are expected to rise significantly in the coming weeks, and could overtake 2019’s total of 1,890 arrivals soon.
French authorities have been given extra financial and technical support by the UK, including drones and authority to cross into each other’s territorial waters. They say that over 1,100 migrants were arrested in France in the first quarter of this year, compared to 342 arrests in the same period last year.
But there is strong evidence to suggest that their navy ships are shadowing migrant boats into British waters where they are collected by Border Force agents and brought to Britain.
Home Office sources told the Telegraph: “At sea, under international law, the preservation of life is paramount. There have been some instances where migrants refuse to board French boats. The boat will remain with the migrants to ensure their safety”.
Read more: The Telegraph