Special forces to infiltrate Calais migrant traffickers using disguises

Migrant crisis: France 'ridiculous' for cancelling meeting says MP

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The UK is set to offer a team of 30 troops from the Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR) to help French police. The elite soldiers may even use disguises to penetrate the criminal gangs.

It comes following the deaths of 27 migrants, whose boat deflated in the English Channel on Wednesday.

Boris Johnson wrote to French President Emmanuel Macron following the incident, saying “unless we increase our efforts, other tragedies will happen.”

The Prime Minister suggested deepening the work of the two countries’ joint intelligence work.

However, France reacted angrily to the letter – cancelling a meeting that was due to take place today between Home Secretary Priti Patel and her French counterpart in Calais.

In a statement, the French interior ministry said: “We consider Boris Johnson’s public letter unacceptable and in opposition with discussions between counterparts.”

According to the Mirror, security chiefs told Downing Street that the only way to control the number of people making the perilous journey is to target the traffickers.

British diplomats hope the offer of special forces will improve tensions between the UK and France.

One source told the Mirror: “Last week’s tragedy was a tipping point which was always going to come.

“The UK has a lot of assets which could be used to help the French clamp down on the traffickers. It is accepted that trying to stop migrants coming across the Channel doesn’t work.

“The key to the problem is the traffickers. If they can’t function, the migrants can’t cross.

“Whether or not France will accept the offer remains to be seen.

“These things are always diplomatically fraught and no country likes to admit that it needs help.”

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The paper said that troops could be used to track down and film traffickers, before handing over the intelligence to French authorities.

It is also understood that GCHQ, one of Britain’s intelligence agencies, will also offer to hack into the criminal gangs’ mobile phone networks.

The SRR specialises in surveillance and is often deployed in operations thought to be too dangerous for MI5 officers.

It supports the police and MI5 on counter-terrorist operations in the UK, and often works with MI6 abroad.

The regiment is known to have been deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.

Troops are said to often disguise themselves in local clothing to blend in.

It is claimed similar procedures could be used in the migrant camps.

Mr Macron has said that since the beginning of the year, 1,552 traffickers have been arrested in northern France, and 44 smuggler networks dismantled.

However, despite this 47,000 attempted Channel crossing have taken place this year.

UK Government officials are due to attend talks in Calais.

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