GB News has captured exclusive drone footage of migrants climbing aboard a boat to cross the English Channel
Scenes of migrants arriving in the UK appear almost daily on our TV screens, but seeing it live is a disconcerting experience.
Nothing can prepare you for the flippant manner in which more than 50 amateur sailors, all but one male, haul a small boat onto a French beach and begin the potentially deadly 20-mile journey to the UK.
I saw a cheeky group set off at 5 p.m. from a sunny beach in northern France, passing workers, tourists, locals and diners. Nobody blinked.
And why would they? For all those who have recently walked along the beach of Gravelines, it is a daily fact. As common as a French resident buying a baguette, the employee of a local café opening its doors for a day of service or a dog walker taking his dog to stretch his legs.
The attempt to tackle the English Channel came just two days after the number of migrants crossing on small boats this year topped 20,000 with 40,000 expected to make the journey – more than double the whole of 2021 .
The last ship arrived at Dover just before midnight, but with some difficulty.
Footage captured by GB News showed two migrants were left behind as they took the boat about 500m into the sea. They were simply not fast enough.
Another injured himself by getting his leg caught under the dingy and had to be carried by two friends.
He managed to climb and squeeze onto the canoe which seemed to have at least double its capacity.
Slowly but surely he was on his way but it was clear that the weight of the asylum seekers had greatly hindered his speed.
As we monitored his progress, there were times when it looked like he wasn’t moving.
Such was our concern, we informed the local police that they might be in trouble. Fortunately, a contact on the British side informed us that they had reached the Kent coast safely.
The next day at 7 a.m., the police stepped up their presence with two beach buggies.
They thwarted an attempt and pushed a group of 30 people back to the nearby dunes where they were sleeping rough a few meters away.
Sleeping bags, clothes (some designer), plastic bottles, toiletries and even refugee documents were strewn between bushes that had been flattened to make makeshift beds. It was like the day after a Glastonbury festival.
Looking at the debris left behind, it is evident that these homeless people need to move quickly when they receive the green light from their traffickers that the way is clear.
Prior to an attempt, GB News saw at least three “spotters” patrolling the beach waiting for a clear run.
They poked their heads out of the dunes to check where the police were, with a not-so-subtle lookout walking his dog and occasionally peering across the sand through his binoculars.
It’s clear what the motivations are for brave (or misguided) migrants, trying to cross the Strait of Dover with little supervision, on their way to the UK – a better life.
GB News spoke to a Somali and two Eritreans as they sipped cans of Desperado beer and downed mugs of vodka at a nearby bus stop in a supermarket.
One had traveled from Africa, where he had left two sisters and a daughter, to Malta, Italy and finally to Calais.
They told us it would cost them £2,000 for a human trafficker to smuggle them. The money they didn’t have.
Migrants filmed climbing aboard an inflatable structure to cross the English Channel in exclusive GB News drone footage
When asked why they were traveling to the UK, they insisted that there were no jobs for them in the countries they had passed through and that they would be more than happy to get a job as a hairdresser or as a worker if they succeeded in their trip.
But whose fault is it if it seems to be their only option?
Locals embrace the theory that Britain is soft to the touch and attractive to people around the world trying to improve their way of life.
One suggested that it was Europe’s business and that the continent should accept collective responsibility.
But what country would care when the issue barely affects them, as migrants just pass through and end up in what one local called the “golden ticket” to a better life?