Channel migrant crossings near 40,000 so far this year as more than 1,400 arrive in small boats over weekend

The latest arrivals bring the total number who have crossed the Channel since the new year to 39,898

Published Last updated

Almost 40,000 people have crossed the English Channel in small boats so far this year, after more than 1,400 crossed over the weekend.

Official figures from the Ministry of Defence reveal that 468 people were detected onboard eight small boats in UK water on Sunday.

It followed 990 Channel migrants who arrived on 24 small boats on Saturday.

The latest arrivals bring the total number who have crossed the Channel since the new year to 39,898.

Almost 40,000 people have crossed the English Channel in small boats so far this year
Almost 40,000 people have crossed the English Channel in small boats so far this year
The record arrivals are continuing to put huge strain on the UK asylum system
The record arrivals are continuing to put huge strain on the UK asylum system

That compares to 28,526 who crossed in the whole of last year.

The record arrivals are continuing to put huge strain on the UK asylum system.

Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick has visited the Manston asylum seeker processing centre in Kent, which is struggling to cope with the numbers arriving there.

After his visit there yesterday, the Minister acknowledged the "immense pressure" Manston is under.

The facility is only meant to process a maximum of 1,000 people at a time, and take take no more than 24 hours.

But there are currently around 4,000 people at the centre, some have been there more than a month.

On Sunday, around 700 people were transferred to Manston for safety, after a firebomb attack on a sister processing centre at Dover harbour.

The suspect, who threw a number of incendiary devices at the perimeter fence, drove to a nearby petrol station where he took his own life.

Kent police said they were keeping an "open mind" on the possible motive for the attack.