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We ARE patrolling the beaches, claim the French


In a week when unauthorised seaborne arrivals in Kent from France once again approached 1,000 in one single day, and Home Secretary Priti Patel threatened to cut funding for French Channel policing, the authorities there were finally sparked into action.

It was clearly designed to show people smugglers, and the public, that the French police mean business.

By all accounts it is too late – and impossible to sustain.

One morning last week, through the grey of early-morning half-light, a dozen dark figures could be seen on the beach. 

Occasionally they ventured into the rolling dunes, and powerful torches lit up the darkness.

As dawn broke, it became clear that these were French police officers – and that, belatedly, at least some of the northern coast was being closely monitored for migrants leaving for Britain.

As many as ten police vehicles were in the beach car parks between the resorts of Wimereux and Ambleteuse, 20 miles south-west of Calais.

Most of the police, all with handguns, positioned themselves around the remains of a concrete gun emplacement built by the Nazis in a vain bid to stop the British.

When the Allied invasion finally came, in 1944, we chose another beach.

People smugglers going the other way last week were doing something similar.

The police trained their binoculars on the dunes, where migrants have been inflating dinghies before dashing down to the waves.

As the sun rose, a 20ft rigid inflatable boat was clear to see.

A group of migrants had made it to the beach, and been disturbed. The police had slashed it, and left it there as a warning.

Don't hold your breath for any of this to make a difference to numbers crossing however!