Construction of wall in Calais

Wall in Calais aimed at preventing migrants boarding lorries bound for Britain.

Attempts by migrants to enter the UK illegally from French ports fell by almost a third last year.

However the number of foiled attempts in 2016 remains the second highest in seven years, Home Office figures have revealed.

Border Force prevented a weekly average of 1,071 attempts by migrants trying to get to the UK from France last year to Kent, amounting to more than 56,000 attempts across the twelve months.

This compares to 81,000 foiled attempts by migrants in 2015, the highest recorded so far.

The Home Office statistics include people stowing away in vehicles at Calais and Dunkirk ports as well as Eurotunnel and Eurostar terminals.

The figures, which were released following a Freedom of Information request, also revealed that the number of illegal immigrants found in UK ferry ports increased last year to 1,868 from 1,305 in 2015.

Whilst the Home Office hailed the 31% drop in the number of foiled attempts a “success”, Dover and Deal MP Charlie Elphicke called for tougher border controls.

Elphicke said: "It's shocking that migrants at Calais 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.

"This is why we worked so hard to get the Calais jungle dismantled."

The Home Office said the figures include multiple attempts by the same migrants to gain entry on different days.

A spokesman added: "These figures make absolutely clear that our approach to securing the UK's border is working.

“Despite our successes in preventing attempts to enter the UK illegally, we are not complacent. We will continue to work closely with our French counterparts to maintain border security and keep legitimate passengers and trade moving."

The figures come as hauliers continue to raise concerns that migrants are returning to Calais in increasing numbers  since the Jungle camp was dismantled in October last year.

Following recent violent clashes between migrant gangs and police on the Port and Eurotunnel approach roads this month RHA has renewed its call for the immediate deployment of the French military at Calais.

Van driver killed by migrants’ road block in Calais region.

  • The driver of a Romanian lorry, which was found to be carrying 13 migrants, has been arrested on suspicion of people trafficking. The driver was arrested at Mangrove Service Station on the A45 London Road last week after police and paramedics were called to the service station, where they found thirteen men and boys between the ages of 15 and 39 years old, inside the vehicle. In a statement Warwickshire police said: “A number of the men required medical attention. Three of them were taken to hospital, their condition is not thought to be life threatening. The remaining men have been taken into custody. The Border Agency has been informed. The driver of the lorry, a 26 year old man, has been arrested on suspicion of people trafficking.”