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‘Shocking’ figures show migrants tried to break into Kent 56,000 times last year

PUBLISHED: 14:16 24 August 2017 | UPDATED: 14:16 24 August 2017

Port of Calais

Port of Calais

Archant

It comes after the Road Haulage Association said lorry drivers were refusing to make the journey between Calais and Dover

More than 150 migrants tried to cross the Channel and enter Kent every day last year, new figures have revealed.

The data, obtained by the BBC, shows some 56,000 attempts were made by people trying to reach the county from French ports and terminals in 2016.

While the figures are down by 25,000 on 2015, they are still the second highest in seven years, and have led to more calls to invest in border security.

Dover and Deal MP Charlie Elphicke said: “It’s shocking that migrants tried to break into Britain more than 50,000 times last year.

“These figures underline the true scale of the challenge we face and why we need more investment at our border – particularly at the Dover frontline.

“This is why we worked so hard to get the Calais Jungle dismantled.”

The Home Office said in response that the figures demonstrated success in preventing attempts to enter Kent illegally, but insisted it was not complacent and would continue working closely with French officials.

It comes just days after the Road Haulage Association (RHA) said some lorry drivers were refusing to make the journey between Calais and Dover, fearing they are being put at risk by violent clashes across the Channel.

Up to 200 people were said to have been involved in the clashes earlier in the week with a number of police officers and migrants injured in the incidents, which have involved Afghans and Eritreans.

RHA director of policy Rod McKenzie said: “Our members are terrified and angry. Gangs of marauding migrants, often armed with iron bars, are attacking their vehicles.

“The police are heavily outnumbered and it’s clear that they can no longer cope with the ever-increasing numbers trying to make the crossing to the UK.”

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