Albanian people-smuggling gangs are offering free minibus trips from southern Europe to the northern French coast for migrants seeking to cross the Channel.
The gangs are promoting the “100 per cent secure” service in adverts on the social media platform TikTok in which they show pictures of the minibuses with an invitation for people to message in order to sign up.
They are then driven from Albania to trafficking gangs in France, often run by Iraqi Kurds, where they pay up to £5,000 per person to make the 22-mile journey across the Channel in a small boat, according to Albanian immigration sources.
It comes as a record 1,295 migrants crossed the Channel on Monday, beating the previous daily high by more than 100, according to the Ministry of Defence (MoD). As many as four in 10 are Albanians, according to a UK intelligence report.
On what was the busiest day of the year, the Royal Navy and Border Force intercepted 27 boats from France, each carrying on average nearly 50 migrants, who were brought ashore.
That is the largest number since the previous high of 1,185 in November last year and takes the total of migrants reaching the UK so far this year past 22,500 – more than double the rate in 2021 at the same point.