Britain’s Home Office dismissed concerns over people-smuggling across the English Channel as “not significant” just a matter of months ago.
Ministers in the government department played down fears despite border inspectors issuing a highly critical report on Border Force’s ability to guard the British coast.
The Times reports that they also admitted to relying on volunteers to report suspicious activity along Britain’s 7,000 mile long coast line.
The report by independent chief inspector of borders and immigration said that Border Force had admitted that its knowledge of the threat posed by small boats smuggling migrants across the English Channel was poor, and that there was no collection of information regarding this.
However, the Home Office dismissed the concerns, saying: “The risk of people smuggling into the UK by general maritime is not currently assessed as being significant. However, we remain vigilant to changes in methods and the measures outlined will strengthen our response should the risk picture change.”
The revelation comes as two British men were charged with people smuggling after a boat carrying 18 Albanian migrants was intercepted off the coast of south east England.
Another small boat was found on a beach at the town of Dymchurch, Kent, with those on board taken to immigration authorities in Dover.
Last week, another 17 men, believed to be Albanian migrants, landed at Chichester marina in West Sussex, along with a 55-year-old British citizen wanted on suspicion of murder.
Authorities in East Anglia have also warned that remote estuaries could be attractive to people smugglers because there are few patrols.
Keith Vaz, chairman of the House of Commons’ Home Affairs Select Committee, commented: “The government has been very, very lax. We warned them as soon as they put in extra security at Calais that the problem would disperse to other parts of France, Belgium, and Holland. That is exactly what has happened.”
Breitbart London reported back in March on the problem after it was revealed that migrants based at the camps on the French north coast were trying to cross the English Channel in makeshift rafts.
In one case, a migrant by the name Asif Hussein Khail tried to use a bedsheet as a sail, but was soon intercepted by French authorities.
Migrants crossing the sea in rickety, makeshift vessels is already a common site in the Mediterranean as hundreds of thousands cross from Turkey and North Africa to Greece and Italy, Fears are now building that another summer of dangerous crossings are on the way.