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French officials demand UK cracks down on British charities that help migrants cross the Channel 

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French officials demand UK cracks down on British charities that help migrants who are planning to cross the Channel

  • Charities were accused of ‘frustrating’ efforts in intercepting Channel migrants 
  • Authorities in France have requested urgent action to curtail their activities 
  • The French added that charities assisted migrants on their journeys to the UK

French officials have demanded a crackdown on British-based charities they accuse of ‘constantly frustrating’ attempts to intercept Channel migrants.

Authorities in northern France have expressed concerns about UK-funded organisations and handed a dossier of evidence to British counterparts, the Mail understands.

They have also requested urgent action to curtail the charities’ activities, a diplomatic source said.

In some cases the French accuse charities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) of assisting migrants in their journeys to the UK.

Several hundred migrants are thought to have crossed the Channel yesterday, after Sunday witnessed the highest number of arrivals so far this year with 442

Several hundred migrants are thought to have crossed the Channel yesterday, after Sunday witnessed the highest number of arrivals so far this year with 442

For example, volunteers are alleged to have acted as ‘spotters’ on the French coastline to direct migrants away from beach patrols so they can launch dinghies without being intercepted.

‘The French have raised very strong concerns with our government about British-based NGOs in northern France,’ the source said.

‘They are mightily p***** off. There is constant frustration of the process to stop illegal immigration by migrants who set off from northern France.

French officials have demanded a crackdown on British-based charities they accuse of ‘constantly frustrating’ attempts to intercept Channel migrants

British officials are understood to have told their French counterparts they would support any decision to deny entry to any charity workers who they believe have been breaking the law

In some cases the French accuse charities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) of assisting migrants in their journeys to the UK

In some cases the French accuse charities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) of assisting migrants in their journeys to the UK

‘The French have handed evidence over and said “Please stop it”. But there is only a limited amount the UK can do, because this is taking place on French soil.’

British officials are understood to have told their French counterparts they would support any decision to deny entry to any charity workers who they believe have been breaking the law.

‘But I don’t think they are at that point just yet. It’s a watching brief,’ the source said, adding that at least seven groups are under ‘constant monitoring’ amid concerns they may be breaking the law.

The Charity Commission began a statutory inquiry into one British-based migrant charity, Care4Calais, in August 2021. Its conclusions have yet to be published.

Pictured: A migrant who arrived without footwear stands in flipflops donated by a volunteer from the refugee crisis charity Care4Calais

Pictured: A migrant who arrived without footwear stands in flipflops donated by a volunteer from the refugee crisis charity Care4Calais

At the time, the watchdog said it was looking at ‘whether there has been mismanagement and/or misconduct in the administration of the charity by the trustees’, as well as its financial controls and other issues. The inquiry does not relate to volunteers’ actions in assisting migrants.

French interior minister Gerald Darmanin previously accused UK charities of hindering efforts to stop Channel migrants. 

He turned his fire on British aid workers in 2021, saying ‘the NGOs that prevent the police and the gendarmerie from working are largely British NGOs with British citizens who are on French soil’.

In November, Home Secretary Suella Braverman announced a £63million deal with France to combat the Channel crisis

In November, Home Secretary Suella Braverman announced a £63million deal with France to combat the Channel crisis

Clare Moseley, founder of Care4Calais, one of the main UK groups working with Channel migrants, rejected the claims, saying at the time that her charity existed ‘solely to deliver humanitarian aid’.

In November, Home Secretary Suella Braverman announced a £63million deal with France to combat the Channel crisis. 

Describing it as a ‘big step forward’, she said the settlement with Emmanuel Macron’s government will see the British taxpayer foot the bill for a range of anti-people trafficking measures in France.

Volunteers are alleged to have acted as ‘spotters’ on the French coastline to direct migrants away from beach patrols so they can launch dinghies without being intercepted

Volunteers are alleged to have acted as ‘spotters’ on the French coastline to direct migrants away from beach patrols so they can launch dinghies without being intercepted

UK Border Force officers have already been deployed as ‘observers’ on the approaches to French beaches, working alongside gendarmes for the first time, as well as in French nerve centres which combat the smugglers. The number of gendarmes on beach patrols is also set to increase by 40 per cent to 350 by April.

Several hundred migrants are thought to have crossed the Channel yesterday, after Sunday witnessed the highest number of arrivals so far this year with 442.

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