French general blasts UK & threatens to pull Calais coast patrols as tensions escalate over cross-Channel migrants

A FRENCH general has blasted Britain’s “ingratitude” and threatened to pull patrols from the Calais coastline in a major escalation of tensions over cross-Channel migrants.

Gen Franz Tavart said he would order his men off the beaches if money promised by Home Secretary Priti Patel ran dry.

The Home Office has threatened to scrap an agreement to pay France an additional £54million to stop the crossings if the numbers making the journey are not cut.

He fumed: “I’m very clear. If they stop funding the reserve officers, I will pull out my 40 gendarmes.”

The cash is partly used to pay 90 reserve officers backing up 40 full-time gendarmes patrolling the shore.

The reserve force includes Dad’s Army-style retired cops and civilians.

Home Office insiders say the threat has already produced results, with interceptions on the French coast on the up.

But Dan O’Mahoney, Britain’s clandestine Channel threat commander, said of the French commitment: “Could they do more?

"Absolutely and we will continue to work with them to do more.”

French officials said their police had intercepted 62 per cent of attempted crossings before the boats had left the coast this year, compared with 52 per cent in 2020.

Over 17,000 have crossed the Channel in small boats this year — more than double last year’s total.

The Home Office said 669 crossed in 22 boats on Sunday, with the French preventing 197 in six boats from crossing.

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