Armed French police smashed up a Dunkirk migrant camp today along a disused railway line as thousands of desperate refugees hoped of landing in the UK.
Officers forced the migrants to leave before workers in protective suits started hauling down tents and bivouacs near Loon Beach - a well known launching port for small dinghies favoured by smuggling gangs.
Police have booted migrants out of their camps on an almost weekly basis for the last few weeks, taking them to holding centres hundreds of miles away - but they often end up back on the Channel coast.
More than 1,500 were cleared two weeks ago from the 'New Jungle' camp outside Dunkirk which had been likened to the infamous Jungle near Calais, similar in both its size and squalor.
The migrants, most of them from the Middle East and Africa, remain intent on making the perilous crossing despite last week's disaster that saw 27 people drown after their dinghy deflated in the frigid sea.
The number crossing the Channel has surged to 25,776 in 2021, up from 8,461 in 2020 and 1,835 in 2019, according to Home Office data.
Boris Johnson doesn't think the French are doing enough and became embroiled in a bitter row with Emmanuel Macron last week that saw Home Secretary Priti Patel uninvited from a summit in Calais.
Mr Macron last Friday warned the Prime Minister to 'get serious' if he wanted to tackle the crisis, however the French President last night backed down and agreed to hold new talks.
This despite Miss Patel pledging £55 million to Paris in June to help France patrol the border - the latest in a long line of similar lump sums provided by the UK taxpayer.
Migrants gather as French police officers dismantle their makeshift camp at Loon Beach near Dunkirk on Tuesday
Migrants from the Middle East and North Africa are booted from their squalid camp near Dunkirk on Tuesday
Migrants were camped along disused railway tracks and beside canal near Dunkirk
Armed cops clear the migrants from the camp on Tuesday
While Britain accuses France of failing to stem the flow, France claims that once migrants reach the shores of the channel, it is too late to prevent them crossing.
French police routinely tear up the camps that spring up between Calais and Dunkirk. Evictions at the Grande-Synthe site where evictions took place today have been raking place in a steady stream over the last few weeks, according to one charity worker.
The migrants are typically transported to holding centres scattered across the country where they are encouraged to file for asylum, though many quickly make their way back to the Channel coast.
Hussein Hamid, 25, an Iranian Kurd, said it was the second time he had been evicted. On the first occasion, he was bussed to Lyon 500 miles to the south.
Hamid tried to leave the camp swiftly by foot, carrying a backpack, but said the police had blocked any way out.
An Iraqi Kurd told Reuters by text message that he was hiding nearby while the police conducted their operation.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex will write to Boris Johnson on Tuesday with proposals for a 'balanced agreement' between the UK and the EU, as the two sides resume talks.
But France's Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin launched yet another attack on the UK and said discussions could take place 'very quickly' - but only if Britain stopped engaging in 'double-speak' and entered negotiations in a 'serious spirit'.
On Monday, Darmanin suggested the letter was an example of UK ministers communicating differently in public than they were in private in yet another ratcheting up of tensions.
French police officers gather as they dismantle a makeshift migrant camp at Loon Beach near Dunkirk
Migrants gather as French police officers dismantle a makeshift migrant camp at Loon Beach near Dunkirk
Migrants gather as French police officers dismantle their makeshift camp at Loon Beach near Dunkirk
Anger over the letter saw Macron banning Miss Patel from attending a Calais summit on the Channel migrant crisis at the weekend.
But France's latest suggestion that talks with the UK could resume is a climbdown by Paris.
A UK government source said it appeared to be a 'positive' move after the diplomatic row which erupted following the capsize last week of a migrant boat with the loss of 27 lives.
Another source told The Times: 'We stand ready to discuss, as we always have done. We’ll need to see the specifics but we look forward to those conversations.'
Mr Johnson infuriated French president Emmanuel Macron when he posted a letter on Twitter calling for joint patrols on French beaches and the return to France of migrants who succeed in making the dangerous Channel crossing.
Mr Macron said it was not a serious way to negotiate. But Mr Darmanin said on Monday the two countries needed to work together to deal with a shared problem.
'From the moment there is no more double-speak, and we can discuss in a serious spirit, and our private exchanges correspond to our public