Lorry migrants have surged by 30 per cent in a year as Border Force has been told to toughen border checks.
Home Office data, obtained by think tank Migration Watch, showed that 9,000 migrants reached the UK hidden in lorries last year, a 30 per cent increase since 2020.
It meant the total number of people crossing the Channel by small boats or lorry was 37,401, more than double the previous year and eight times the rate in 2014.
According to the analysis, there were an estimated 70,000-plus detected clandestine lorry entries since 2014, nearly equivalent to the capacity of Old Trafford football stadium.
It follows warnings by the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration that the Government’s processes for dealing with migrants sneaking into Britain in the back of lorries were “misfiring at each point”.
In one year, it found that more than 7,500 migrants were encountered in the UK having entered concealed in a vehicle and in two thirds of cases, the vehicle involved was never identified. The inspectorate said the Government needed to get a grip on an “unsustainable” situation.
Alp Mehmet, chair of Migration Watch UK, said: “Even with boat arrivals hitting record levels, thousands of migrants continue to enter in clandestine ways, including in the backs of lorries and containers.
“The serious risks to safety that this poses are obvious. Having destroyed their documents, as many do, it becomes nigh-on impossible properly to identify those entering this way. It’s an open door to criminals and terrorists.”
‘Reform human rights to keep out migrants’
It comes as Policy Exchange, a think tank close to Government, called for all Channel migrants to be refused entry to the UK and transported offshore under a reformed Human Rights Act (HRA).
A Policy Exchange panel including a top Government lawyer and former Border Force chief says the only way to stop the Channel migrants would be a new approach where no one including even genuine refugees who used the route would ever be granted a right to settle in the UK.
It proposed a Plan A, which would be a deal with the EU whereby any migrant picked up in the Channel, or who arrives in the UK on a small boat, would be returned to the country from which they came by joint UK-EU patrols.