People smuggling gangs are offering a ‘
Security sources said the organised criminals have slashed prices as the UK Border Force prepares for a surge in crossings over the festive period.
Intelligence reports suggest average costs for migrants are around £500 to £1,000, with some gangs offering deals for as little as £300, it is understood.
People smuggling gangs are offering a ‘Christmas discount’ to migrants wanting to cross the Channel to Britain illegally for as little as £300 a head (file image)
In September the average price was around £2,700 a head and at the beginning of the year just over £4,000.
It means illegal crossings are now available for less than a tenth of what they cost in January.
A Home Office source said: ‘These vile criminals will stop at nothing to illegally smuggle people into the UK.
‘The latest wheeze is cut-throat prices to exploit vulnerable women and children, enticing them to put lives on the line in a deadly crossing to the UK.
‘Our security services are doing everything they can to go after the criminals behind this human trade.’
In previous years, some of the largest numbers of arrivals on a single day have come on Christmas and Boxing Day, when there have been fewer officers on duty.
Security sources said the organised criminals have slashed prices as the UK Border Force prepares for a surge in crossings over the festive period (file image)
But this year the Home Office is ramping up security in the Channel.
The Mail reported yesterday how a new James Bond-style surveillance boat has begun trials from Dover to locate migrant boats.
Military drones and other aircraft have also been deployed to deal with the crisis. More officers will be on duty during this festive period than in previous years, it is understood.
So far this year nearly 9,000 migrants have reached Britain from France, compared with 1,850 during the whole of 2019.
The asylum system is costing taxpayers nearly £1billion a year, with costs doubling in just five years, figures published in September revealed.