Dinghy packed with migrants speeds onto Kent beach as row continues over 'unviable' Channel crossings

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A group of people thought to be migrants arrive in an inflatable boat at Kingsdown beach, near Dover, Kent, after crossing the English Channel.
A group of people thought to be migrants arrive in an inflatable boat at Kingsdown beach, near Dover, Kent, after crossing the English Channel. (PA)

A boatful of migrants have been pictured landing on a beach in Kent and sprinting ashore as the row continues over “unviable” Channel crossings.

Several people were seen crammed on board the small rubber dinghy as it was pictured approaching the shingle beach at Kingsdown, near Dover, on Monday morning.

The migrants, who weren’t wearing any life jackets, were heard cheering as the vessel neared the shore and ran aground.

Watch: Nearly 1,500 migrants made journey to UK in small boats during August

As the dinghy ground to a halt, they were seen leaping out and running across the beach towards some scattered trees.

Kent Police and immigration enforcement officers were seen in the area.

Several more boats carrying migrants are also believed to have crossed the English Channel on Monday as calm sea conditions continued for them to make the journey from northern France.

The pictures come as lawyers attacked Priti Patel’s Home Office after it issued criticism of immigration solicitors helping refugees who have crossed the English Channel.

A group of people thought to be migrants arrive in an inflatable boat at Kingsdown beach, near Dover, Kent, after crossing the English Channel.
The migrants, thought to be mostly men, are crammed into the inflatable dinghy before it reaches the shore. (PA)
An angler watches as a group of people thought to be migrants arrive in an inflatable boat at Kingsdown beach, near Dover, Kent, after crossing the English Channel.
An angler watches as a group of people thought to be migrants arrive in an at Kingsdown beach. (PA)

Lawyers representing asylum seekers have previously argued many of the people who have made the dangerous crossing are victims of torture, sexual assault and trafficking.

On Friday, at least 319 people travelling in 27 boats made the dangerous crossing, according to the Home Office, which takes the total number for the year above 6,000.

Analysis of data, compiled by Sky News, found that at least 5,385 migrants have landed in small boats or been rescued between 1 January 2020 and 6 September, compared with at least 1,110 between the same dates in 2019.

Border Force and French patrols have been active in the Dover Strait since the early hours of Monday morning.

The group, who appeared to all be men, arrived squeezed on board a grey dinghy with a black outboard motor on the back.

A group of people thought to be migrants run from an inflatable boat at Kingsdown beach, near Dover, Kent, where they arrived after crossing the English Channel.
The group run ashore after their journey. They made the crossing without life jackets. (PA)

Many wore hoodies and one was seen carrying a backpack as they all headed off from the shoreline at speed.

The PA news agency, which tracks and analyses migrant crossings, understands that more than 6,100 migrants have successfully crossed to the UK in small boats this year.

The Home Office and French authorities have been struggling to agree on an approach of how to deal with the situation, as EU rules hamper Patel’s efforts to tackle the crisis.

However, following talks in Paris in August, British immigration minister Chris Philp said that Britain and France were working on a “new operational plan” that would make the Channel route unviable for "illegal migrants" in a bid to cut off smuggler networks.

Read more: Priti Patel accused of spreading ‘Trump-like propaganda’

The numbers of migrants arriving so far in 2020 has far exceeded previous years.

Patel said in August that the number was “appalling and unacceptably high” and that she was “working to make this route unviable”.

She said that this would work by stopping small boats leaving France and “intercepting” any that were crossing.

A group of people thought to be migrants run across Kingsdown beach, near Dover, Kent, where they arrived after crossing the English Channel.
Many wore hoodies and one was seen carrying a backpack as they headed off from the shoreline at speed. (PA)
Border Force staff recover an inflatable boat at Kingsdown beach, near Dover, Kent, where it was abandoned by people thought to be migrants who had used it to cross the English Channel.
Border Force staff recover the inflatable boat at Kingsdown beach, near Dover, Kent, where it was abandoned. (PA)

“This is complex to do and we face serious legislative, legal and operational barriers,” she said in a tweet.

“We also need the co-operation of the French to intercept boats and return migrants back to France.”

Read more: Priti Patel hits back at Labour MPs in major racism row

She said the system was being “exploited by leftie Labour-supporting lawyers” who were doing everything they could to stop the government removing people.

However, the law society attacked Patel saying such attacks on the legal profession “undermine the rule of law”.

She was also accused of spreading Donald Trump-like “propaganda” after the Home Office published a graphic-based video showing deportation planes alongside text reading: “We are working to remove migrants with no right to remain in the UK. But current return regulations are rigid and open to abuse allowing activist lawyers to delay and disrupt returns.”

Law Society president Simon Davis said of the video: “Solicitors advise their clients on their rights under the laws created by Parliament. To describe lawyers who are upholding the law as ‘activist lawyers’ is misleading and dangerous.”

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