Standing in front of the remains of dozens of inflatable craft in the backyard of a police station, Captain Eric Binet has a message for migrants considering the sea crossing to Britain: don’t risk your lives.
Warm weather and a deceptively calm-looking sea are tempting dozens of migrants to board rubber dinghies for the 30 km crossing to Dover, whose white cliffs are visible from Calais, while police try to stop them before they put to sea.
Dinghies used by migrants to try to cross the channel are seen at the French gendarme brigade in Marquise, France, on August 20, 2020. (Reuters)
“From here, it looks like Britain is just a hop, skip, and a jump, but that is an illusion. The Channel is a busy shipping highway, and there are violent currents,” Binet told Reuters, adding that migrants often take to sea with 20 to 25 people in an underinflated boat with an underpowered engine.
Migrants leave as French police officers dismantle a makeshift shelter camp in Calais, France, on July 10, 2020. (Reuters)
A few days ago they stopped a vehicle carrying seven migrants, an inflatable boat, an engine and a can of fuel.
“It is a good thing their attempt failed, they would have risked their lives. The sea was very, very rough,” he said.