Number of migrants found being smuggled into Britain has nearly TRIPLED, report suggests as ministers bury slew of bad news on final day before Commons recess

  • Report says 6,429 found in six-months in 2015, compared to 2,411 in 2014
  • Rise happened as migrant crisis gather pace across Europe
  • Figures as ministers criticised for ‘taking out trash’ on last day of term

The number of migrants discovered being smuggled into Britain in lorries, cars or on trains has nearly trebled in a year.

A report on so-called ‘lorry drops’ showed authorities encountered 6,429 ‘clandestine entrants’ in the six months from the beginning of April to the end of September – compared to 2,411 for the same period in 2014.

The numbers found in Kent and referred to a special unit increased 10-fold, from 340 to 3,264.

The figures were among a slew of bad news slipped out by ministers on the last day before parliament rises for its summer recess.

The number of migrants discovered after hiding in lorries, cars or on trains in the six months to April last year was nearly treble the figure for the same period in 2014, according to the report

The rise came as growing numbers of people attempted to cross to Britain from Calais amid the wider international migration crisis last summer.

Some 30 written statements were laid in the Commons along with a plethora of reports. Among the stories were a Saudi diplomat alleged to have brought a domestic slave into the country and controversial former HMRC chief Lin Homer walking away with a £2.4million pension pot.

The report from Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration David Bolt admitted that the total number of migrants entering the UK ‘clandestinely’ each year is not known.

But it said there were figures for entrants discovered who had arrived in the UK concealed in vehicles.

‘Most of the migrants encountered in-country had entered concealed in or on a heavy goods vehicle and had left the vehicle at its first stopping-point in the UK,’ the report said.

‘This form of clandestine entry is commonly referred to as a ‘lorry drop’. Although there is no such thing as a typical ‘lorry drop’, in the period under review most of the migrants encountered were males under the age of 30, originating from Eritrea, Iran, Syria, Sudan and Afghanistan.’

Individuals who were able to conceal themselves on trains generally disembarked at Longport in Kent, the first point in the UK at which trains would slow or stop.

Most migrants who have entered the UK clandestinely and who are known to the Home Office have been identified upon or soon after arrival in the UK, the report said.

This happened in three main ways: they were discovered in or exiting from the vehicle in which they entered the country, they were encountered close to a service station or the motorway network having ‘dropped’ from the vehicle, or they presented themselves to a police officer or immigration official.

Between November 2014 and October 2015, the Home Office and police forces dedicated around £17.75 million to managing ‘lorry drop’ cases.

Around 93% of the clandestine entrants claimed asylum, the report showed.

It was granted in 1,168 cases, while 149 people had their applications refused and were removed from the UK. In almost 4,000 cases the claim was outstanding, and in 678 it was refused and appeal rights have been exhausted.

Many of the migrants discovered were trying to sneak past border controls in lorries

The inspection found that the Home Office had maintained the quality of its ‘initial response’ despite the significant increase in encounters.

However, the report warned: ‘While front-line staff had coped well with the extra demands, in some areas the response to ‘lorry drops’ had been at the expense of other enforcement priorities, such as illegal working and sham marriages, raising questions about Immigration Enforcement’s capacity and resilience, particularly if faced with a similar challenge in summer 2016.’

A Home Office spokesman said: ‘The report acknowledges that the summer of 2015 saw extraordinary pressures as a result of the EU migration crisis.

‘The UK Government has invested tens of millions of pounds to bolster security at the ports in northern France, and the UK and French governments have been working at pace to implement actions agreed in the Joint Declaration signed by the Home Secretary and the French Interior Minister on 20 August 2015.’

He added that the Government is also ‘committed to finding long-term solutions to the problem of illegal migration’.

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