Small boat smugglers 'slash price for migrants to cross the Channel ahead of festive surge'

EVIL small boat smugglers have slashed prices they are charging migrants to cross the Channel ahead of expected festive surge, the Home Office has been warned.

Allies of Priti Patel last night branded the bargain basement offers “a vile wheeze”.

Intelligence reports from Northern France suggests that some gangs are charging as little as £300 to be smuggled into the UK, with average costs now between £500 to £1,000.

That’s up from September when the average price was around £3,000.

In August The Sun revealed smugglers were giving away “kids to free” offers to desperate families.

The Christmas period often sees crossings increase, as gangs take exploit less traffic in the Channel and fewer officers on duty.

Border Force say Christmas and Boxing Day have seen the biggest number of arrivals on a single day in previous years.

But last night Priti Patel ordered more officers will on watch, and allies insisted more naval assets will be available in the Channel than in previous years.

A Home Office source said: “These vile criminals will stop at nothing to illegally smuggle people into the UK.

“The latest wheeze is cutthroat prices to exploit vulnerable women and children, enticing them to put lives on the line in a deadly crossing the UK.”

They added: “Our security services are doing everything they can to go after the criminals behind this human trade.”

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