GB News sees evidence of up to 6,000 migrants waiting to cross Channel on small boats from France
A GB News producer filmed multiple makeshift camps around Dunkirk, where he saw thousands of migrants in tents and at charity run feeding stations
GB News has seen evidence of up 6,000 migrants waiting near the Channel coast in north west France, as UK authorities brace for a surge in small boat crossings this weekend.
Our producer filmed multiple makeshift camps around Dunkirk, where he saw thousands of migrants in tents and at charity run feeding stations.
Other large groups could be seen hanging around the rail racks on the outskirts of Dunkirk, where another large migrant camp has been set up.
Further along the coast, near the beach in the village of Gravelines, hundreds more were filmed gathering around a main car park in the area.
“I’ve never seen it as busy as this.” said our producer, who has visited the same area many times in the past two years.
“I’d estimate there are between 5,000-6,000 here around Dunkirk. And that doesn’t of course include those camped further down the coast near Calais.”
GB News as been told that UK authorities and maritime agencies are preparing for "significant surge" in migrant crossings this weekend, after bad weather halted Channel arrivals for almost a fortnight.
Sources said Kurdish gang masters, in league with Albanian organised crime groups are planning a "mass launch" of small boats from French beaches when weather conditions improve early on Saturday morning.
It will be the first large scale arrival of small boats since the weekend of October 29 and 30, when 14,058 people arrived in 32 small boats.
Although another 46 people arrived on October 31, strong winds and choppy seas have prevented any crossings since.
One source told us: "The people smuggling gangs have become very experienced in reading both weather and tide in the Channel.
"They know these little boats would have stood little chance in crossing in recent days. They need the winds in particular to die down."
He said authorities on both sides of the Channel will be out in force over the next few days to deal with the expected surge.
"We're going to see vastly improved weather conditions this weekend, with the winds dying right down until Monday.
"It's a three-day weather window the people smugglers will take full advantage of, as the suitable days for crossing become far fewer as we head into the winter months."
The surge in Channel crossings a fortnight ago put immense pressure on the UK's migrant processing centres in Dover and Manston.
At one point, around 4,000 people were being housed at Manston, near Ramsgate in Kent, in a facility only designed to process a maximum of 1,500 at a time.
By law, those migrants are not expected to be at Manston for more than 24 hours, before being transferred to interim accommodation such as hotels.
Some of those at Manston had reported being at the former RAF base for up to a month.
The independent Chief Inspector of Borders David Neal said he was left "speechless" by the poor conditions at the facility when he visited recently.
The poor weather in the Channel has given the Home Office badly needed space to reduce the numbers at Manston to below 1,000.
However, the next few days will be a crucial test of whether Border officials now have more robust processes in place to deal with the expected new surge in arrivals.
In recent days, Albanian criminals have pushed out dozens of videos on TikTok and other social media platforms, urging fellow Albanians to use their criminal people smuggling services.
The adverts claim a "100 percent safe passage" with prices starting at £3000 per person.
UK authorities, led by the National Crime Agency, have arrested dozens of people, including Albanians in recent months, as they attempt to dismantle cross-Channel people smuggling operations.
Home Office figures show more than 12,000 Albanians have reached the UK in small boats so far this year, almost a third of the 40,000 people who have made the crossing since the beginning of January.