Border Force is bracing for thousands of migrants cross the Channel this year as numbers reach a record high.
Analysis conducted using data from the past 18 months suggests the number could be as high as 22,000 by the end of the year.
The estimated figure is three times the 8,000 that made the crossing in 2020, and considerably higher than the 1,000 in 2019, The Times reports.
A total of 219 people in 11 boats were intercepted on Wednesday and 175 were picked up in six boats on Thursday.
Smugglers have been encouraging migrants to travel to the UK with promises of hotel stays and coronavirus vaccines.
“They told me I’d be taken to a hotel and live there. I was even shown pictures. I was told I’d be jabbed too because Britain had so much of the vaccine they could afford to give it away,” one migrant told The Sun.
Last week Home Secretary Priti Patel announced plans to give France £54million in order to employ more police patrolling beaches across the Channel.
Steve Valdez-Symonds, Amnesty International UK’s refugee and migrant rights director, said: “Making yet another agreement to pay France to deter and prevent people reaching UK shores is not going to make anything better or anyone safer.
“There is no escaping the fact that the Home Office is shirking its responsibility to share with other countries, including France, in providing asylum.”
While Bella Sankey, director of charity Detention Action, said it “loses all credibility” with the new record.