Immigration offences in the county of Kent, which contains the port of Dover and the freight terminal for the Channel Tunnel, rose by a quarter in 12 months even before this summer’s migrant crisis.
Figures show local police detained 104 suspected illegal immigrants in June this year, a 35 per cent rise on the same month last year.
Meanwhile, the number detained for all immigration offences rose from 721 in 2013 to 896 in 2014. That figure had already hit 352 by June this year, before the migrant crisis had even started.
The figures obtained by The Times under the Freedom of Information Act also show a total of 632 suspected illegal immigrants were arrested last year, up from 530 in 2013. This year’s total has already reached 240.
Yesterday alone, Kent Police found nine suspected migrants hiding under a lorry near Dartford, while another seven were discovered at a service station at Minster-in-Thanet.
Across the Channel in Calais, work is now underway to install new razor wire fencing and CCTV cameras at the Channel Tunnel freight terminal to prevent migrants boarding trucks bound for Britain.
The closed airport at Manston in Kent is also being converted into a temporary truck park to replace Operation Stack, where thousands of trucks were lined up along the M20. At one point the queue stretched back 18 miles, with some drivers having to wait days before they could board trains bound for France.
The new facility at Manston will include floodlighting as well as toilet cubicles and shower blocks.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage has described the situation in Calais as “scary” and “lawless”, and said Britain should considering deploying the army to keep order.
“In all civil emergencies like this we have an army, we have a bit of a Territorial Army as well and we have a very, very overburdened police force and border agency.
“If in a crisis to make sure we’ve actually got the manpower to check lorries coming in, to stop people illegally coming to Britain, if in those circumstances we can use the army or other forces then why not?”