Channel migrant figures show more than 2,000 pulled from small boats this month

More than 2,000 people have been pulled from small boats in the English Channel in the first three weeks of April

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UK authorities intercepted 263 people on Tuesday, who were spotted on board seven small boats.

The first boat was sighted in the early hours of Tuesday, with around 30 migrants on board.

Around five hours later, a second boat carrying up to 50 people was intercepted and those on board were brought to Dover harbour on a Border Force cutter.

Throughout the day, another four dinghies were spotted and intercepted.

The Royal Navy Offshore Patrol Vessel HMS Tyne was one of the ships involved in the counter people smuggling operation.

More than 2,000 people have been pulled from small boats this month
More than 2,000 people have been pulled from small boats this month
A 'small boat incident' occurred in the Channel on Tuesday
A 'small boat incident' occurred in the Channel on Tuesday

The Royal Navy formally took over command and control of Channel operations last Thursday.

Tuesday’s figure takes the number of people picked up by UK authorities in British waters to 2,143 so far this month.

The Easter bank holiday weekend saw more than 500 migrants intercepted in UK waters.

A total of 28,526 migrants were picked up by UK authorities last year, more than three times the 8,410 who were intercepted the year before.

So far this year, 6,693 people have been pulled from a total of 204 small boats, far higher than figures for the first four months of last year.

Last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel announced a major new drive to deal with the problem of people smuggling in the Channel, including sending many of those would be asylum seekers to Rwanda.

Despite criticism from many across the political spectrum and human rights groups, the Government insists it is determined to push ahead with its plans, which ministers believe could break the business model of the criminal gangs involved in people smuggling.