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RAF plane patrols English Channel after nearly 700 migrants cross

An RAF plane was drafted in to carry out surveillance missions over the Channel today as the Government steps up efforts to prevent migrants crossing into the UK from France.

The A400M Atlas flew from RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire to provide surveillance for the Border Force and Coastguard who can intercept boats.

The Ministry of Defence said the aircraft, which flew from RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, is an “initial offer of assistance” to the Home Office.

Between Thursday and Sunday, more than 677 people, including at least one toddler, made it to the UK across the Dover Strait. This morning, the Border Force patrol boat Hunter stopped an inflatable dinghy off Dover carrying around 20 Syrian migrants. One occupant could be seen bailing out water with a plastic container from the boat which was sitting low in the water in choppy conditions.

More than 4,000 migrants are thought to have reached the UK this year in small boats.

Last year Home Secretary Priti Patel vowed that the crossings would have become an “infrequent phenomenon” by now.

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