People traffickers 'are paying French fishing boat crews to get migrants across the English Channel'

People traffickers are hiring French fishing boat crews to carry desperate migrants halfway across the Channel in a bid to evade eye-in-the-sky military drones.

Once in open water, asylum seekers clamber into pre-inflated dinghies held in the fishing boat to complete the rest of the perilous 21-mile crossing, reports suggest. 

Using fishing trips as a guise allows groups to evade detection by drones - such as the £22 million Watchkeeper which launched its first reconnaissance mission earlier this year.

Fishing boats are departing from Calais in the earlier hours of the morning and, once around halfway across the Channel, are standing stationary for some 15 minutes, reports suggest.

The 15-minute slot would be enough time for the highly-dangerous inflatable vessels to be cast out into the water - before the desperate migrants climb onboard.

On Sunday morning the French Navy intercepted 11 boats (one pictured) containing a total of 191 migrants trying to get across the English Channel 

The boats then head back to French shores, evidence seen by The Sun has revealed

A source said the use of fishing boats 'is becoming a big problem'. 

They added: 'Nobody is going to suspect a French fishing boat. The organised crime gangs have infiltrated them.'

Yesterday, tragedy struck when a migrant drowned as he tried to get to Britain from northern France via a makeshift boat. 

The body of a man, who cannot be identified because he was not carrying any documents, was found on the beach at Sangatte, ne....

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