More than 600 people cross the Channel in small boats

Another 656 people have crossed the English Channel in small boats, according to Government figures.

Fifteen boats were intercepted on Friday, the Ministry of Defence confirmed.

It is the 12th time the daily toll has reached more than 600 people and brings the yearly total up to 32,321.

Earlier this week, the annual total hit more than 30,000.

Migrant Channel crossing incidents
Groups of people thought to be migrants are housed in tents after being brought in to Dover, Kent, from Border Force on Thursday (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Some 28,561 crossings were recorded in 2021.

Special tents have been erected at Dover to keep the migrants covered while they are processed – with new arrivals appearing to be overflowing from existing facilities.

On Friday, French authorities launched a rescue operation after a boat off the coast of Gravelines in northern France got into difficulty.

A spokesperson from the Maritime Prefecture of the Channel and the North Sea said the maritime military rescued the 65 shipwrecked people from the boat.

In a statement, published in French, the agency said: “After being taken care of, the castaways were disembarked at the port of Boulogne-sur-Mer where they were taken care of by the border police and the departmental fire and rescue service.

“The Maritime Prefecture of the Channel and the North Sea warns anyone who plans to cross the Channel about the risks involved.

“This maritime sector is one of the busiest areas in the world, with more than 400 merchant ships passing through it per day and the weather conditions are often difficult.

“It is therefore a particularly dangerous sector, especially at a time when the water temperature will decrease.”

It is more than five months since then-home secretary Priti Patel announced plans to send migrants to Rwanda to try to deter people from crossing the Channel.

Since then, 27,053 people have arrived in the UK after making the journey.

A High Court challenge is under way over the policy.